Prominent network engineers Jon Stewart and Alyssa Milano have bashed Sen. Ted Stevens for his description of the Internet, but it was actually pretty accurate. See Prof. Ed Felton’s explanation:
I’ll grant that Stevens sounds pretty confused on the recording. But’s let’s give the guy a break. He was speaking off the cuff in a meeting, and he sounds a bit agitated. Have you ever listened to a recording of yourself speaking in an unscripted setting? For most people, it’s pretty depressing. We misspeak, drop words, repeat phrases, and mangle sentences all the time. Normally, listeners’ brains edit out the errors.
In this light, some of the ridicule of Stevens seems a bit unfair. He said the Internet is made up of “tubes”. Taken literally, that’s crazy. But experts talk about “pipes” all the time. Is the gap between “tubes” and “pipes” really so large? And when Stevens says that his staff sent him “an Internet” and it took several days to arrive, it sounds to me like he meant to say “an email” and just misspoke.
So let’s take Stevens seriously, and consider the possibility that somewhere in his head, or in the head of a staffer telling him what to say, there was a coherent argument that was supposed to come out of Stevens’ mouth but was garbled into what we heard. Let’s try to reconstruct that argument and see if it makes any sense.
Not that we want to interfere with anybodys good time, mind you, but Stevens understands computers and the Internet better than say, Jon Stewart. And Stewart’s slam pretty well hits the Neuts in the face: if you believe Stevens is a clueless moron, why do you insist that he impose new and unprecedented regulations on the Internet for you?