December 9th, 2013 -- 'Tis The Season To Be Stupid
In traditional American journalism, August is supposed to be the “slow month for news,” but it sure seems like the last few years that torch has been passed to the 4-6 weeks we know as “the holidays.”
Nothing more fervently speaks to that point that Fox News and their ongoing asinine insistence that there is a war on Christmas occurring in America, something that is so off-the-charts-stupid it barely deserves recognizing and certainly doesn’t merit responding to. Thank you, Fox, for that five minute piece last week on why it’s wrong to NOT coerce school children in America to sign about Jesus. I’m certain nothing else was going on in the world of any great import to anyone’s lives.
Meanwhile, over at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where more people under the age of 40 get their news than any other source on television, we were treated to a totally asinine mocking of anyone who disagrees with raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Look, I get it; I love the Daily Show and I know it’s a comedy program. But most of the country doesn’t. It was a decade ago when we first found out that people under 30 were watching Stewart for their news more than anyone else, and now as they’ve aged and matured…they still are. Therefore, we have at least a generation or more of grown adults who have been getting most, if not all of their primary information about the world, from a show that intentionally provides no context and takes itself not at all seriously. Nothing stupid about that, eh? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/young-get-news-from-comedy-central/
Last week, Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN, announced that the day of straight news reporting was dead and that CNN would soon be shifting to “news with attitude.” http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/cnn-chief-jeff-zucker-to-capital-ny-we-need-more-shows-and-less-newscasts/
Excellent. I, too, think we need more uninformed, ideological people yelling fiction at us while screaming “that’s not true,” to anyone who may present a random fact to them.
Don’t get me wrong; this is not the media’s fault. Like everything else in this vaunted nation of morons, the blame lies squarely at our feet. People who rely on our viewership are simply giving us what we want; stupidity.
Far from being confined to the traditional presentation of news, a true analysis of America’s stupidity must extend outward to the area of sports and entertainment. Long gone are the days of Entertainment Tonight telling us what new movies are on the way, replaced instead by point-of-view paparazzi’s and their band of merry men at TMZ. Sportscenter on ESPN, meanwhile, is nothing more than filler sandwiched around more than a dozen daily shows designed to do one thing; offer a platform for sportswriters and former athletes (most of whom you’ve never heard of) to tell you not about the games, but what to think about the games, players, coaches, owners and even fans.
And let’s not forget the only form of context that is consistent throughout all of these news, entertainment and sports networks. If you disagree with the point of view being presented you are not only wrong, you are to be silenced. Dissent is not allowed on the most serious of subjects. The name “Redskins,” IS racist, despite all evidence to the contrary from 90% of the Native American Community. There IS a war on Christmas, even though no one is being prevented from celebrating the holiday the way they want. There SHOULD be an increase in the minimum wage and we will not discuss the provable reality that someone, somewhere has to pay for it and that there is an endless array of data to support the causal effects of such an action.
Paul Walker WAS an influential actor in our time. The Seattle Mariners DO matter once again by signing an overrated second baseman to one of the most ludicrous contracts of all time. Nick Saban IS going to the University of Texas. Nick Saban is absolutely NOT going to the University of Texas!
Perhaps that last example best exemplifies stupid in America. It’s one thing to shout your opinion and demand that everyone agree with you, as that is the new normal. Long gone are the days of respecting and allowing differing opinions in this nation and it’s only going to get worse. I suppose the natural extension of that has already begun by seeing that we are, in fact, all entitled to our own facts, as was demonstrated over the past two years with the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman fiasco. And so now, the further leap from there, apparently, is to be entitled to our own fantasies as though they are actually happening. If you do a Google News search for “Nick Saban Texas,” and take the time to read the comments and Facebook posts associated, you will see definitive statement after definitive statement of what the “facts,” are as it relates to a story that less than five actual people on the face of the earth actually know what is really going on. Now that’s genuinely stupid. Yelling in all caps that “NONE OF THIS IS TRUE. NICK SABAN WILL DIE IN ALABAMA,” is no more true than repeating over and over again that you can keep your health insurance if you like it. Ouch. That one even hurt me.
Ignorance, apathy and arrogance breed all sorts of things from rudeness to stupidity and everything in between and there’s no doubt we’re witnessing its’ apex at this point in American history. The sad thing is that we’re too stupid to do anything about it.