October 22, 2009

My Entry

The Washington Post is holding a contest called America's Next Great Pundit. The grand prize of which is a dozen columns in the paper. Here's my entry, delivered about an hour before last night's deadline:

I may be new to the pundit game, but some parts I already know. First, I’m expected to be an expert about all topics, and two, I’m not an expert on all topics, despite Wikipedia. So I need to cheat. The gap between the pundit’s need to know everything and the size of the human brain can only be filled by cheating. Yelling is an easy cheat. Just make up for low knowledge with high volume. Sadly, this is really only a viable tactic for television punditry and arguments at the local bar. There’s no viable way to yell in a print piece, and ALL CAPS DO NOT WORK. I need some other way to cheat or, put another way, take a shortcut to the heart of the issue. My favorite move is to cite an expert with whom I agree or, even better, an idiot with whom I do not agree.
Take the debate over Net neutrality. Net neutrality is an effort to ensure that the providers of Internet access treat all content equally. There are rules to make sure that everyone’s Web page loads equally fast and everyone’s e-mail shows up at the same time. That no one gets a raw deal due to the content of their site or the company they work for. Of course, that’s just the quick and dirty version. I’m sure when the FCC takes action it will be much more complicated than that, with pages and pages of technical regulations and legal findings and charts and graphs and an easel. At that point it will be beyond my ability to be an expert on the subject. Now one way to cheat, er, take a shortcut to expertise on this matter, would be to cite an expert like the technologist quoted in this Post article, Vint Cerf, one of the builders of the Internet, who urged the FCC to adopt a "pro-innovation policy agenda" by adopting Net neutrality. But even more effective would be to see where the lunatics are, and then run the other way. On his show yesterday, Glenn Beck said that Net neutrality is a plot to get everyone free Internet and for the Obama administration to take over all media.
The fact that Beck believes Net neutrality to be an evil plot that needs to be stopped is the strongest argument I can mount in favor of adopting it.

Thanks to Krissi for the late editing assist, and everybody -fingers crossed. I could call Charles Krauthammer my honored colleague.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck....