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Stephen Colbert mourns net neutrality—and that feeling of hope after Roy Moore's defeat

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Screenshot: CBS)

Stephen Colbert led off his Tuesday Late Show monologue by deadpanning the confession, “If you’ll excuse me, I’m a little shaky tonight. My heart has been hurting all day, due to a condition my doctor calls ‘hope.’” It was his prelude to a monologue filled with bewildered glee that noted Republican disgrace Roy Moore had, amazingly, been defeated in the Alabama special election for U.S. senator by stand-up guy, KKK prosecutor, and—most shockingly of all in Alabama—Democrat, Doug Jones. It was a cathartic, very funny exercise in kicking a lawless religious bigot and copiously alleged child molester into the flaming dumpster of history.

But this is Thursday. And in Donald Trump’s America, hope lasting longer than one news cycle is likely due to serious avoidance, or even more serious self-medication. So Colbert, responding to the fact that Trump’s hand-picked corporate stooge, smirking creep, and FCC chairman Ajit Pai and his two Republican colleagues voted on Thursday to destroy the President Obama-penned rules on net neutrality. (Note to 2018 election watchers: The two FCC commissioners who voted against the move and spoke passionately about the necessity of a democratic, open internet were both Democrats, and women.) Responding to the day’s presidential tweet-dump about Trump’s misspelled happiness at cutting what he sees as unnecessary regulations (like ensuring huge corporate entities can’t censor or throttle web content at will), Colbert echoed Trump’s facile gibberish (“Set free our dreams!”), by noting tiredly that, about a year ago, he sent his “dreams to live on a farm upstate.” “They’re happier there,” the host mused.


Perhaps mitigating the Trump-and-GOP-caused mood swings is the fact that, immediately after the FCC ruling, the attorneys general of multiple states have already announced a lawsuit intended to reverse the repeal, promising another long legal fight filled with endless phone calls to elected officals and plenty of shifty internet shenanigans. Still, it was a nice few days, wasn’t it?

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.