Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Praying for Storms

“He in his madness prays for storms, and dreams that storms will bring him peace” -- from Mikhail Lermontov’s poem, The Sail, quoted in Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych.
Used to bother me when a friend would reference a story from The Washington Times or Britain’s Daily Mail. Never took anything originating from The Wall Street Journal without a healthy dose of salt. Remember telling a friend’s brother that I wouldn’t ride in the same car with Rush Limbaugh on the radio. Later, like many Americans, I had heated, not to say screaming disagreements with relatives who watched Fox News as if it were an actual news network.
I’d no idea I’d live to see the day when I would have to point out to old friends that internet lunatics and neofascist provocateurs are not only not legitimate sources of news, but in fact are dangerous, anti-democratic, and unfit for introduction into the public discourse. Yet, here we are.
Putting up a vile piece of complete invention claiming without a shred of evidence that the Clintons are murderous child-molesters is not the same as mocking Donald Trump for being orange, or a racist. It is not the same thing, posting articles from legitimate news sources questioning his qualifications to be President, and putting videos on Facebook claiming the Clinton Foundation “raped” Haiti. If any of my friends really can’t distinguish between nonsense and news, between politics and anarchy, if anyone I might call a friend really can’t look at mindless bigotry, misogyny, hatred, and plain, old-fashioned insanity and see that that shit has no place in our political discourse and is not, has never been and will never be “news”, then why are we friends?
So, just as a general warning then to all my friends on social media: if you should choose to repost material from so called “alt right” hate groups, “bestselling” rightist authors I’ve never heard of in thirty years of selling books, commentators and “experts” whose only media appearances are on Coast to Coast radio, The 700 Club and or their own websites, if you put up scurrilous nonsense from barbarous madmen like Steve Pieczenik or the hired quislings of Brietbart like Milo Yiannopoulos, you have crossed a line. You and I do not just have a political disagreement. Ours is no longer a friendly argument. I don’t like discussing elections and the like on Facebook, but here we are. Somebody has to say it evidently, so it might as well be me. You’re making an ass of yourself in public, honey. You look a fool. Grow the fuck up and read a book with actual footnotes, or a real newspaper at least, something not sold out of the author’s car or posted just on a racist website. That shit is embarrassing. You’re associating with racists and dangerous psychopaths. In short, you’re being a dick.
Knock it off.
PS: Love the pictures of the grandkids! Do more of that, please!

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