More and more, I am seeing memes and links pop up in my Facebook newsfeed talking about how so and so DESTROYED!!! or ANNIHILATED!!! or whatever in an EPIC segment on some program. Let’s use the example of the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham to illustrate this point. Prior to the first question of the debate, I guarantee you that a whole bunch of writers on both sides of the ideological divide had at least the outline of their stories proclaiming an EPIC WIN for their guy ready to publish online as soon as the final word was spoken.
And what was accomplished? I’m sure that very few (if any) people changed their minds from watching the debate. And let’s face it, if you’re smart enough to actually understand science and not lousy arguments like “the Holy Bible says,” you probably already believed in evolution anyhow.
Who benefited? Well, Ken Ham was given further media attention and made money for his Creation Museum, which is about as scientifically accurate as chemtrails or the claims that President Obama is really a shape-shifting alien from another dimension. Don’t laugh, there are people who actually believe in these easily debunked claims. By giving them or Ken Ham any media primetime beyond what is absolutely necessary, it keeps their crazy ideas in the public eye which gives them additional credibility with their followers. In turn, this ensures that they, and the media, keep making money every time a story breaks about yet another “INSANE” pundit or political celebrity making an outrageous comment.
So here’s a list of the top 5 people we could either completely ignore or at least give as little attention to as possible.
5. Ted Nugent: If it wasn’t for the fact people really get worked up whenever he makes an asinine statement, Ted Nugent would be scratching out a meager retirement on royalties and doing the county fair circuit. “Cat Scratch Fever” is a half-decent classic rock song but that’s really about the only legacy he has worth talking about – so let’s just let his name only come up when we talk about washed up guitarists from now on.
4. Rush Limbaugh: As the years have gone by, Rush has found it necessary to make more and more incendiary statements in order to stay relevant in the dog-eat-dog media industry. The liberal outrage over his comments toward Sandra Fluke certainly cost him a lot of advertising, but it also gave him renewed relevance in the conservative AM radio industry. Basically, we in the liberal media extended his shelf life with the far right for at least a couple more years.
3. Ann Coulter: Ann Coulter has made a living by, like Rush, saying things that get the liberal blogosphere angry. As a direct result of that anger, she gets celebrity status with conservatives. She’s never held political office and I’m pretty sure if we’d stop getting outraged every time she says something horrible, eventually she’d have to go back being a lawyer, which is actually a more respectable position than what she has now. Oh yeah, and enough with the transphobic remarks about her looks. After all, as liberals or progressives, we really should be above that.
2. Bill Maher: Yes, Bill Maher. I know a lot of people love his weekly show on HBO where he routinely berates conservatives and talks about how dumb religion is. However, Bill is a complete hypocrite for bashing people for believing in God because there is no scientific proof of God, yet Bill is part of the anti-vaccine movement, which has zero trust in medical science. Oh, and he’s friends with Ann Coulter. Enough said.
1. Sarah Palin: Despite all of the stories and images floating around the internet, Sarah Palin isn’t a completely blithering moron. Yes, she says dumb things (a lot of dumb things), but that’s because her audience loves it. The more she says stuff like “well golly, ya know, what good Americans need to do is rise up and take back their country from Obama and his socialist death panels. You betcha!” the more the idiots who take her seriously love it. Seriously, what’s more ‘Murica than getting in your gas-guzzling SUV complete with your Chinese-made “America, Love It Or Leave It” and “Show Us The Birth Certificate” stickers and heading to the local Wal-Mart for her latest book signing where you fork over your
government entitlement Social Security check for another one of her cheesy books?
If you really want these people to go away, stop talking about them unless absolutely necessary. When your weird uncle who always sends you those emails with “FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: FW” in the subject line posts something about Benghazi or some weird story about Obama implanting RFID chips, don’t engage them. Let’s not descend into the pig pen of sexist and transphobic comments, no matter how disgusting someone’s politics and remarks are. If we can’t do that, then we’re no better than them.
We need a national political discussion with less stupid, vitriolic commentary that is designed to make money and keep people divided. Ignoring people like these grifters and political side show freaks is the first place to start.
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