“He had launched his new website on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign as a practical joke among friends — a political satire site started by (Christopher) Blair and a few other liberal bloggers who wanted to make fun of what they considered to be extremist ideas spreading throughout the far right. In the last two years on his page, America’s Last Line of Defense, Blair had made up stories about California instituting sharia, former president Bill Clinton becoming a serial killer, undocumented immigrants defacing Mount Rushmore, and former president Barack Obama dodging the Vietnam draft when he was 9. “Share if you’re outraged!” his posts often read, and thousands of people on Facebook had clicked “like” and then “share,” most of whom did not recognize his posts as satire. Instead, Blair’s page had become one of the most popular on Facebook among Trump-supporting conservatives over 55.”
That quote, from the Washington Post article, contains three very KEY WORDS: like, share, and most important, click. WaPo seems to want the article to be about how gullible and stupid Trump supporters, right wingers, are, rather than how vain, arrogant and dishonest, oh yeah, greedy too, Trump enemies, left wingers, are. I hate to break it to you all, but everyone, regardless of which side of the bird you prefer, has gullibility, stupidity, vanity, arrogance, dishonesty and greed in their makeup. So what else is new? What kind of person is Christopher Blair? Is he an upright, diligent, honest man of character who just wants to have fun with people? Is he a penetrating intellect searching for answers to important moral and ethical questions?
More from the article: “Blair’s own reality was out beyond the shuttered curtains of his office: a three-bedroom home in the forest of Maine where the paved road turned to gravel; not his house but a rental; not on the lake but near it. Over the past decade his family had moved around the country a half-dozen times as he looked for steady work, bouncing between construction and restaurant jobs while sometimes living on food stamps. During the economic crash of 2008, his wife had taken a job at Wendy’s to help pay down their credit-card debt, and Blair, a lifelong Democrat, had begun venting his political frustration online, arguing with strangers in an Internet forum called Brawl Hall. He sometimes masqueraded as a tea party conservative on Facebook so he could gain administrative access into their private groups and then flood their pages with liberal ideas before using his administrative status to shut their pages down.
“He had created more than a dozen online profiles over the last years, sometimes disguising himself in accompanying photographs as a beautiful Southern blond woman or as a bandana-wearing conservative named Flagg Eagleton, baiting people into making racist or sexist comments and then publicly eviscerating them for it. In his writing Blair was blunt, witty and prolific, and gradually he’d built a liberal following on the Internet and earned a full-time job as a political blogger. On the screen, like nowhere else, he could say exactly how he felt and become whomever he wanted. Now he hunched over a desk wedged between an overturned treadmill and two turtle tanks, scanning through conservative forums on Facebook for something that might inspire his next post. He was 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, and he typed several thousand words each day in all capital letters.
“We live in an Idiocracy,” read a small note on Blair’s desk, and he was taking full advantage. In a good month, the advertising revenue from his website earned him as much as $15,000, and it had also won him a loyal army of online fans. Hundreds of liberals now visited America’s Last Line of Defense to humiliate conservatives who shared Blair’s fake stories as fact. In Blair’s private Facebook messages with his liberal supporters, his conservative audience was made up of “sheep,” “hillbillies,” “maw-maw and paw-paw,” “TrumpTards,” “potatoes” and “taters.”
It’s hard to tell whether the writer of the article, Eli Saslow, is satirizing Blair or those who believe his drivel or both. Certainly, there is little that is complimentary in his description of Blair, other than comments about his writing style. What it comes down to, Blair’s talents were baiting people and lying. Success in business is supposed to be about “finding what you love, then building a business around your talent”, according to popular aphorisms. If baiting and lying are what you love, what kind of world allows you to make a lot of money pursuing those talents? The one we live in, apparently. But I am digressing from the point I began in the first sentence of paragraph two. Ah, how time flies when you’re having fun! What was your point, you ask? It seems emotional reactions are the ascendant reality in our world, not just here but everywhere. Emotional appeals try to drive policy: A few men or women don’t identify with their biological sex? Change all bathrooms to unisex! Failed states south of our border disgorge thousands of the people they oppressed? Suddenly they have a right to enter the United States on their terms!Those magical words, “click, like, share” are entirely about stimulating emotion driven actions. How many truly embarrassing, job or relationship destroying actions, come from the hasty and ill advised tweet, text, or email response? What reader has not had cause to regret sending such responses? But that’s not bad enough.
Saslow needs to really make his article pop, while engaging the typical Washington Post readership, by profiling some of Blair’s “right wing” conservative dupes, so whom does he start with? A 76 year old former care-giver for aging parentswho now lives alone in Pahrump, Nevada. But he decides her history is interesting enough to profile only her. Let me guess Mr. Mocking Reporter for Big Time newspaper, what conclusion should we come to, based on the impulsive clicks, likes and shares of a lonely, isolated woman far away from family or a support system, whose last job was in a hospice giving comfort to dying people? You don’t explicitly say, do you? But then you don’t have to, just some hints, nudge nudge wink wink (thank you, Eric Idle), to a readership eager to feel superior to those denizens of the idiocracy, Conservatives. I don’t know which is more pathetic, the premise behind Blair’s scheme (baiting people by lying, then embarrassing the dupes), the reporter’s pandering to a pseudo sophisticated readership anxious to be reminded of their intellectual superiority, or how easily emotions lead people to hasty behavior. No, the last one isn’t pathetic, it’s called being human. What does that imply about the first two?
When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.
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