Net Neutrality is under siege again. And once again, John Oliver is running to the rescue, but this time he's building bridges with everyone from YouTube celebrities to pro-Trump trolls in order to save the internet from corporate manipulation.
If you're not familiar with the concept, Net Neutrality is the idea that users should have equal access to online content regardless of the source and without internet service providers (ISP's) discriminating against certain websites, apps or online services. Basically, it prevents corporations like Verizon from slowing down or blocking your access to content or services provided by its competitors. It essentially levels the playing field so that smaller companies can compete with big businesses online.
Oliver's returning to the issue because Net Neutrality is now under attack from the Trump administration, which is steadily chipping away at just about everything President Barack Obama accomplished in office.
"It seems that the Trump era will basically control-z everything that happened on Obama's watch," Oliver said on last weekend's episode. "I genuinely would not be surprised if one night Trump went on TV just to tell us that he personally killed every turkey Obama ever pardoned."
But it's not Trump himself going after the internet. It's his pick for chairman of the FCC - Ajit Pai, who took office under the promise that net neutrality's "days are numbered." Pai is a former lawyer for Verizon who frequently misrepresents the issue of Net Neutrality in interviews and at speaking engagements. He also has a weird penchant for oversized novelty mugs. Seriously.
So Oliver took on Pai by not only dismantling his internet rhetoric, but also breaking out a novelty mug that dwarfed Pai's puny cup.
But more importantly, he introduced a website - gofccyourself.com - that will help viewers express their support for Net Neutrality. And he's calling on everyone - even his bitterest enemies - to join the cause.
"Every internet group needs to come together like you successfully did three years ago," he said. "We need all of you, even - and I can't believe I'm saying this - Donald Trump's internet fans on sites like 4chan and Reddit, the most powerful internet trolls of all. This subject is one of the few things that we actually really agree on. So simply express yourself and harness the rage that you normally reserve for me. The rage that you used when you said I'm 'generally one of the most visually and intellectually repulsive people I've ever seen' with 'oddly long thumbs', 'bat-shit crazy eyes' and 'a mouth that looks like a cemetery after an earthquake'."
And if you don't think you have time to write the FCC, check out Oliver's plea to procrastinators everywhere. It's the kind of thing General George S. Patton probably would've said if he had to roll tanks into Verizon's corporate headquarters instead of Nazi-occupied France.