I belief that, properly applied, wit has great rhetorical impact, but I shall always hold to the principle that knowing what you are talking about trumps everything else. This is why I was a bit dismayed by the Truthdig video report of Bill Moyers' discussing Net Neutrality at the media reform conference in Memphis. Everything seemed to come down to one witty quotation:
Who would have imagined that sitting together in the same democratic broadband pew would be the Christian Coalition, Gun Owners of America, Common Cause and MoveOn.org?
This would be funny were it not for the dismal prospect that none of the members of this coalition (let alone the coalition itself) probably have much of a grasp of the issues at stake (nor, I suspect, does Moyers). This is likely to be one of the most confusing policy-making decisions to have confronted the Congress in quite some time; and there are so many lobbyists on the case that any legislator can be forgiven for having absolutely no idea whom to believe. (Hopefully, there are some of us still around who remember all the stupid things that were said in the debate over the Communications Decency Act, which found itself tied to the attempt to reform telecommunications just because that is the way in which Congress does things.) Unfortunately, we are now probably too deep in the muck to tell the government to back off and let things work themselves out of their own accord. What will probably happen is that those who have preached “The Internet changes everything” will discover that this applies to the Internet itself!