Let freedom (and the cell phone) ring

editor's corner

Every once in a while it's fun to think about historical figures thrown into today's society. Also, a weekend without electricity in triple-digit heat makes some writers a little giddy.

Anyway, with Independence Day--or the Fourth of July--if you prefer—making its annual appearance, I thought I'd have a little fun and conjure up a 21st Century vision of our Founding Fathers (in capital letters) the night before the big day.

The scene: Thomas Jefferson's room at a boarding house at 7th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Jeff, looking intently at his iPad, is interrupted by his Android phone's (let's be democratic here, shall we?) Yankee Doodle Dandy ringtone. --Jim Barthold

Thomas Jefferson: Yo, Tom here. What's up?

Ben Franklin: Tom, it's Ben. I'm down here at City Tavern with John and a few of the other boys. Did you send us that final draft of your declaration? We're hoping to get sign-off tomorrow so we can send it out on the Web. It's probably going to be a slow day because it's a holiday and we think a tweet and link should grab some attention.

Jefferson: Yeah, I just polished it up and it's on its way. Good thing I've got WiFi here as part of my Xfinity service 'cause this place is so old it doesn't have any Ethernet connections.

Franklin: No Ethernet? Whoa! How 18th Century. Anyhoo, if you're all finished, why don't you come over to the tavern and knock down a few Sam Adams with us?

Jefferson: I'd like to, but I rented 1776 on Netflix and I'm just getting started watching it. That Howard Da Silva character cracks me up.

(Whiny, annoying voice can be heard in the background; identified as John Adams.)

Franklin: Hang on a minute, Tom; John's talking in my other ear. Yeah, John, I hear you. Can't you see I'm on the phone? Do you have to be so obnoxious? It's why you're disliked. OK, I'll tell him. Sorry about that Tom. Adams says that he's worried about this part in the Declaration where you talk about giving everybody a free ride on the Internet pipe. He thinks it might rile up some of money people in the Comcast tower and we need their support if we're going to take on King George. How 'bout we take that part out?

Jefferson: Take that part out? It's an unalienable right; you buy Internet service from anybody and you should get to use it for whatever you want.

(Sounds of multiple voices in the background.)

Franklin: I agree, Tom, it's just that the guys here think it's going to cause problems along the line and figure maybe we should settle this spat with the king before we start attacking our own kings in Philadelphia.

Jefferson (really sounding unhappy): OK, how about if we cut it and substitute something like all men are created equal but broadband networks are created by corporations that are entitled to profit from them even if it's at the expense of the end users who pay for the service. How's that sound?

Franklin: Sounds mint to me if you take out the sarcasm. Book it and send it our way. We've got to get this thing out fast. It's already leaking. Did you see the piece on YouTube somebody leaked showing us signing the thing before we even released it to the public? That could come back to bite us.

Jefferson: Missed that one. I was out eating and only had 3G so I couldn't really get good video. I'll check it out after the movie.

Franklin: OK, so you're not coming down here tonight to celebrate? CNN is carrying the big fight from Boston between George's boys and the Redcoats and we have TV Everywhere with our FiOS service and the tavern's 4G connection.

Jefferson: Nah, I think I'll just catch the flick, check out YouTube, look at my e-mail  and catch some sleep. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a really busy day. Text me if you need anything else.

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