Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recently, I saw a random bit of Facebook hate on someone's news stream, when someone commented on Glenn Beck's rally in a truthful manner to their beliefs, and recieved a random response from a stranger expressing unfocused hatred and bile about the anti-Glenn Beck approach.

Mocking Glenn Beck is something of a cottage industry, these days, done at water coolers and fake news shows and blogs and twitter feeds and real news shows and on and on and on...

To us who are not afficianados of FoxNews, and their particular brand of - shall we say - right-leaning politics and red-tinged yellow journalism, we feel quite comfortable talking amongst ourselves with wonder and amazement that anyone buys the endless stream of conspiracy theories and ideology of euro-centric, wealth-chasing, isolationism. It reminds me a lot of how easy it is for a lot of us book-ish types to look askance at Ayn Rand's work, and anyone who claims her as a major writing influence. It's all well and good to openly deride the ideas of Rand, which often fall all over in a heap at very little pricking, until you meet someone who really likes Rand. Then it gets kind of awkward.

In much the same way, it's very easy to assume no one you know would ever be so dumb as to follow Glenn Beck's strange, guilt-by-association, stream-of-consciousness paranoia. Then, you meet someone who does. And it gets awkward.

And, what's worse, is that hating on Beck and FoxNews is exactly the narrative they sell to their audience. They claim that they are the lone voice calling out in the wilderness of media, speaking truth to power and saying the things that people think but aren't brave enough to say in the politically-correct minefield of common discourse. Calling them fools solidifies their own narrative.

People love an underdog, and love feeling like a member of a rising tide of outsider culture moving to the center. If you are successfully sold on the narrative of FoxNews, looking around you at all the - to you - random hate thrown back upon FoxNews and Glenn Beck and Sara Palin only makes you identify more with those folks and their narrative. Thus, walking around with all this random hatred floating in the air, all this mockery and derision, you would feel the way Fox wants you to feel - the way they tell you to feel - and you, too, will likely snap on someone's Facebook feed when mockery and derision are thrown about so casually.

Which is all to say, I think that it's important to be respectful of FoxNews even if I disagree with almost everything that appears in their program, veiled or brazen. It is so easy to lampoon them - and they seem to design their entire program around painting a giant target on their foreheads - and this is why we shouldn't.

If we keep lampooning them, their audience will only get louder, and bigger, and meaner. Public discourse will suffer even more than it already has.

Don't let them win.

It's like the rampaging advertising icons in that Simpsons' Halloween Special: Just don't look!

(It's stuff like this that supports their narrative: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/08/31/actor-john-cusack-calls-satanic-death-fox-news-gop-leaders/ . John Cusack probably doesn't read this here blog, but if you are like him, and feel that way, remember that FoxNews loves to write stories about how people hate FoxNews... There's a reason for that.)

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