Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Liberal Media, Pt. II

Very, very early on in the life of the Rambler, I wrote this as part of my manifesto for what the Rambler was going to be:

"1) I think the 'blogosphere' is going a long way towards demolishing what little remains of sense and politeness in political discourse that remains in our country ("What? A platform that instantly allows me to broadcast my drunken assertions across the worldinstantly? And ANONYMOUSLY?!? Fuckin' sign me up, dude!")

2) If there's one thing I've realized over the years, it's that there's nothing duller than listening to someone else's opinions as there is reading about them, at length. Especially mine."

All of which was my way of promising that the Rambler was never going to be a political blog, but also promising not to 'go negative.'  And I've held mostly true to that over the last four years and 800+ entries.  But the Dave that loves to opine about anything had to find another outlet, and forums were seemingly designed for that purpose.  The first part of "The Liberal Media" was getting to one of the core issues, that the personas we create online are exaggerated reflections of our selves, shaped entirely out of our opinions and assertions.

Almost as if on cue - because you know the universe does what it does only to make oblique comments about the observations in my blog - Osama bin Laden got whacked, and the internet was alive with the chatter of people disagreeing with each other, disagreeing with reality, and generally being disagreeable.  Myself included, wading into a couple of Facebook threads that questioned the truth of the news.

This is a 'thing' for me.  For reasons I can only guess at, I have a strong aversion to conspiracy theories.  That is to say, I know what it is that bothers me about them, but I don't know why it is.  But having someone repeatedly assert things (frequently in a pedantic manner, which behavior always seems to go hand-in-boot for people partial to conspiracy theories) that replace the historical narrative with a moonlit tale raises my ire like nothing else.  'Flames... flames...' as Madelene Kahn would say.  Seriously, it's embarrassing.  But there it is: I take it weirdly personally.

This didn't used to be the case.  Frank, the older brother of a friend of mine, used to keep me very entertained with his stories about how Clinton (Bill, that is) would use the Y2K disaster to have FEMA declare a state of national emergency so that he could remain in office.  True, this was a conspiracy theory about something that was going to happen, rather than a past event being questioned, but Frank generally played fast and loose with reality in a playful way, and it always seemed to me that his conspiracies, both past and future, were more lighthearted 'what-ifs' than dire dogma that needs to be told.

Of course, this was the 90's, and - let's face it - the stakes were far, far lower.


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