Source: Wired

When I look at #TheDress I see red, white and blue.

Nick Stoner
Mar 4, 2015 · 4 min read

Thursday, February 27 2015, will surely be one of those days that lives in infamy, but for what?

Is it the day millions of people lobbied their government to protect a free and open Internet against billions of dollars of corporate interests and lobbying efforts?

Or is it the day we argued about #TheDress?

I’ve read several articles lamenting the coverage of one over the other. I’ve had friends driven mad by the fact that we’re still talking about it. So, here’s a better question: Had the FCC ruled in the other direction, in the favor of creating Internet fast lanes for players$$$, what would we have done?

By “we,” I mean the people of the Internet, and for the sake argument let’s say being for Net Neutrality is the Blue-Black argument and being against Net Neutrality is the White-Gold argument.

If you were a celebrity, maybe you’d post an epic photo and be like, “OMG, the FCC says Net Neutrality is Blue-Black, but WTF, I totally see White-Gold.”

If you were a company like Buzzfeed, you’d immediately recognize the viral gold of a celebrity posing a question of meaningless magnitude to the masses and write something like, “Net Neutrality is hot on Tumblr right now. [Picture of tumblr.] Like this hot. [Picture of Jamie Dornan.]

If you were every other media outlet, you’d say, “Shit, Buzzfeed is stealing all the ad dollars again.” Then, you’d try to cover the debate like it was Syria or something. (Yes, that is a link to the New York Times.)

If you were in government, you’d call all your backers to see what they think. You might take a poll of public opinion, but being a 50/50, any sort of stance would be a tough call. You’d probably assure your backers they could count on you when it counts and support the party line.

If you were a brand, you’d realize these viral phenomena are the perfect way to cash in on free media. So, you’d have your 22-year-old social whizzes whip up your detergent ad. You wouldn’t want to segregate your audience, so you’d be neutral. You’d say, “Net Neutrality? Oh, we’re neutral. Blue-Black, White-Gold, whatever. If you get dirty, we’ll get you clean.”

And if you were a personal brand, you’d give it your down-to-earth, folksy spin. You’d take a side, because it’s so fun! It’d be smart to add a CTA like, “Blue-Black! If you agree, follow me on Insta!”

If you were just a person without a brand, you’d probably look at all those opinions floating around the wide-open Internet and feel overwhelmed. You wouldn’t read the scientific analysis explaining why some people see lighter colors and some dark. You wouldn’t read a law with a word like “telecommunications” in it, and especially one from the 30s. (Forget Blue and Black. You don’t watch anything in black and white! {Neither does your Congressman.}) You’d see your friends on Facebook posting their opinions, but you can’t trust those people. You haven’ talked to them in years. And Melvin Potts? Who the hell is he? Someone from elementary school? Can’t be. Facebook hadn’t been invented yet. The Internet hadn’t been invented yet. Oh my God, you are old. You’re just realizing it now. But it’s hitting with such existential clarity. You are an old withered witch just sucking down precious oxygen. Stop it! The animals need that. Maybe you’re not that old. You’re just hungry. But you’re always hungry. Oh my God, you’re old and fat. And Melvin Potts is probably a stalker. And worse! Oh my God, it gets so much worse. Melvin Potts thinks it’s White and Gold, but it’s so so so so so clearly Black and Blue #LifeIsHard No, take it back. #LifeIsImpossible

And now you’re angry. Because you work too hard for your little studio. And you can quote too many poets to be peddling processed meat to the rural poor. Because you just remembered Melvin Potts was that smug kid from high school who could never stand in anyone else’s shoes, who thought Jackson was one of our best presidents and that Gatsby was, “a really great guy.” No, Potts. Gatsby wasn’t a great guy. He was a delusional, narcissist in love with someone worse. Of course, he saw White and Gold. Potts was always wrong.

So you pound your keyboard in exasperation at the impossibility of life, at its unfairness and injustice. You post. Boldly. Defiantly. Proudly. You get 10 likes. Then 20. Then 30. Look at you now. Your opinion matters. People respect it. Black and Blue all the way, baby!

At this point, it doesn’t matter that you don’t know what Net Neutrality is, or if that’s even what we’re still even talking about. Maybe we’re talking about llamas. Let’s review. What was the question, again? Oh yes, I remember: “If the FCC ruled the other way, what would we do?”

Let’s be honest, no matter who we were, we’d probably post an angry comment from our chair.

The amazing thing is, that’s exactly what happened to help win the fight on Net Neutrality. Millions of us got angry enough to post something, to raise our voices over the din of seeping plutocracy in our country. And that’s true democracy. Truer than the forums of Athens, because everyone has a voice on the Internet. That’s what the Internet is — a global voice, a global democracy.

Some days, us people of the Internet will become infatuated with the inane, with the skiing cats, runaway llamas and optically illusionary dresses. But for what it’s worth, as long as Net Neutrality stands, the only colors I see are red, white and blue.

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Nick Stoner

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Do cool things everyday. Then make them great. @StonerWriter

Trisect Agency

Trisect Agency is now a part of MatchMG

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