Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013: The Year In Review (Part 1)

Like the rheumy old geezer you're forced to sit next to in a theater or on a three-hour plane flight, 2013 is coughing, hacking and wheezing its way into the outhouse of history.  While not as bizarrely awful as 2012 (and that was due in large part to the presidential election), this year will go down as having more than its share of weird, unsettling and just plain annoying happenings.  So, let's take a look back at the crazy quilt of human folly that was 2013 and present some well-deserved awards for galaxy-class stupidity, starting with our premiere award:

The MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Award:  We thought we were going to get through this year without millions of right-wing dimwits getting all whipped up into a frenzied lather over some faux-controversy, like they did with the Chick-Fil-A idiocy last year.  You might remember that the COO of C-F-A made some ill-advised comments to religious publications that he was proud of financially supporting some groups that advocated a "traditional definition of marriage" (a.k.a. homophobia and bigotry disguised as piety).  When some people suggested we may want to direct our discretionary spending to a restaurant chain that wasn't quite as intolerant and hateful, the conservative sheeple were summoned into action by the right-wing garbage-mongers on Fox News and other pseudo-journalistic bastions of stupidity.  What better way to show your innate homophobia than by running down to your local Chick-Fil-A outlet and ordering up a big mess of their nasty fried chicken?  Yeah, that'll show those queer-loving liberals - go out and buy a shitload of artery-clogging, greasy animal parts.  A lot of people really had no intention of eating what they bought; many of them threw the food away immediately.  But gol darn it, they were going to make a STATEMENT and stand up for the First Amendment rights of some idiot who insists on sticking his nose into the lives and business of fellow Americans.

Back to 2013:  Fox News tried to get the ball rolling by kicking off their annual "War Against Christmas" pseudo-controversy.  When it appeared it wasn't getting enough traction with their easily-distracted-by-shiny-objects viewers, they decided to let slutty Botox abuser Megyn Kelly spew some incomprehensible drivel about Santa Claus only being white or... something? I don't even know.  But the shitstorm really spooled up to high gear when the patriarch of a clutch of barnyard animal-human hybrids that appear in some ridiculous reality show called "Duck Dynasty" cut loose with a rambling diatribe in GQ magazine that was pretty stunning and extreme in its stupidity, racism and homophobia.  Now I've never seen "Duck Dynasty," nor would I ever consider soiling my brain with whatever genetic-cesspool nonsense those hairy snake-oil salesmen are perpetrating on a dimwitted, gullible American public.  I spend my entire life avoiding those kind of people and trying hard to convince myself they don't really exist.  But you would really have to be living on some other planet these past couple of weeks to not have heard about this crapfest on nearly every news outlet.  The A&E network almost immediately tried to distance itself from the one program on their schedule that was an absolute cash cow, and "suspended" the noxious old fart from his own show.  Always eager to show its clout, the right-wing stupidity machine went into overdrive and cast this suspension as a heinous, unwarranted violation of someone's First Amendment Free Speech rights.  There's that pesky First Amendment again.  It's almost as misused, misquoted and misinterpreted as the Second Amendment.

The right wing loves to shriek like a stuck pig whenever they imagine someone violating their own rights, but gleefully and willingly will try to curtail the rights of any group of people they don't agree with, such as gay people seeking marriage equality or adults seeking to maintain access to a legal birth control procedure.  Then you get irrelevant, obsolescent gasbags like the scrawny, brittle, trailer-trash queen Sarah Palin dragging herself out from under some rock and shoving her pinched, ravaged face in front of any camera she can find, forcefully broadcasting her opinions like anyone gives a screaming shit about what she thinks.  The ignorant conservative hordes jumped up at their leaders' command and goose-stepped their way down to their local Walmart or Cracker Barrel restaurant and willingly blew their (irony alert) welfare checks on useless crap they really didn't need, just because some media hack told them they were defending some pseudo-celebrity's right to free speech, and snapped up every bit of Duck Dynasty schlocky merchandise they could get their fat, stubby fingers on.  It's astonishing to me that those idiots will do whatever their right-wing puppet-masters tell them to do, without a smidgen of critical thought.  As long as they see other people like them doing the same thing, they think they are on the right side of things.  Adolf Hitler would be so proud.

It's really difficult to understand how this country has changed so much that some repulsive, grubby old scumbag can spout a load of vile, disgusting hatespeech to a national magazine and then have millions of idiots defend his right to call gay people "terrorists" and make astonishingly ignorant statements about how black people were better off under slavery.  Twenty years ago someone saying that would be roundly criticized and condemned from every part of the political spectrum.  Nowadays, you could come out in favor of child molesters and as long as you managed to sneak in some Bible quotes, you will get people defending you and your right to be an asshole in public.

How did that happen?  I think it's the result of a number of things; one of them being the death of civil political discourse and intellectual thinking in this country.  The internet and social media have given everyone a global, anonymous platform to expel any and all kinds of hateful, disoriented thinking, with little or no consequence or accountability.  The gun lobby has set an example of scorched-earth policy by vehemently opposing even the smallest, most innocuous and toothless tightening of gun laws in this country.  Even the slaughter of 20 innocent children in December 2012 meant nothing to them.  The only thing they cared about is the fictional "slippery slope" which would surely lead to the government forcibly confiscating everyone's firearms if they banned one assault rifle or extra-capacity ammo clip.  Throw in an ignorant, uneducated population that accepts claptrap like that as gospel, and the spineless, cowardly stooges in Congress who are firmly in the back pocket of the gun manufacturers, and you have a great example of neo-fascism knocking at your door disguised as "patriotism."

But I digress.  Thankfully, Christmas is providing a welcome (albeit short) relief and distraction from all this small-minded stupidity, but I fear the argument will only be resurrected next month as the new season of that Duck Dynasty trashfest starts up.  It seems the conservative parts of the population will put up with absolutely any kind of horrible stupidity and intolerance as long as it's painted with the varnish of "religious expression," which has become the dog whistle to automatically incite the vast unwashed hordes to jump up and do whatever they are told.  After all, Jesus is on their side.  Or so they think.

Therefore, I give the Much Ado About Nothing Award to Duck Dynasty and their mindless followers for all their spectacular bigotry and ignorance.  They have taken the entire country one giant step closer to hell.

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