The Huffington Post started out as a promising example of new media, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet in reaching a large audience at a much reduced cost. Then came the side boob, an obsession that choked the pages that could otherwise have been devoted to something, anything of importance. And in case there’s any confusion among the HuffnPuff staff or others, when you’re caught being foolish, saying “but I was only joking” isn’t a sufficient justification—especially when climate change, mounting debt both personal and federal, a growing China and resurgent Russia, and many other matters ought to occupy the space of a magazine that claims its purpose is to inform and empower, in addition to inspiring and entertaining.
But all right, there is a taste for cotton candy in America—as Donald Trump’s candidacy illustrates all too well. To be fair, a yearning for Brussels sprouts also exists. See the Clinton campaign. In the former example, we have yet another case of Betsy Riot yammering in an article by the pseudonymous Betsy F. Yerguns, titled, “Fuck the NRA. Be a Betsy.”
In case you have spent your time in serious subjects, rather than devoting your attention to the Kardashians and the like, Betsy Riot is a group of trolls who regard the placing of stickers on books, magazines, packages of diapers, and paper towel dispensers in stores as a worthy means of protest. Though these attention-seekers lately want to be graduated into the realm of serious crime, since the article includes the defacing of U.S. currency, a crime that could cost them unmarred money and a vacation at Club Fed.
I have to say that I’m not surprised by any of this. Sad, but not surprised. As a country, we’re too concerned at being amused, and we’ve misread the shock value of blocking traffic and carrying signs as effective politics. As the Democratic National Committee committed and Wikileaks reported, politics takes place in offices far from public view with a wall of secretaries, possibly bolstered by armed guards, and news organizations protecting the important secrets.
There is a role for pranking, trolling, and satire in public discourse. Arianna Huffington participated in a panel discussion in 1998, moderated by Christopher Hitchens, in which she called for more mockery of powerful people. But the problem is that a jester has to have a point to be anything other than a fool. It’s a sorry state of affairs that Huffington is still on the national stage, promoting sleeping and navel-gazing, while Hitchens has been dead almost five years. His humor and his rhetorical power was backed by clear reasoning and a breadth of knowledge of things more significant than what a particular celebrity was wearing or not wearing. Hitchens, thou shouldst be living at this hour. We have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton presented as the best our major parties have to offer.
The Betsy Riot crowd is laboring under the same affliction as Huffington: They’re both missing an argument. And they’re boring, insulting what is for both an argument with a death rattle. The first rule of satirists, of humorists, even of people who teach English is never bore your audience. If you lack substance and you lack style, you’ve lost any claim to the attention you so desperately need.
Given the failings of the Betsies, the only thing left to say to them is that they should go away, since the adults are talking. Members of law enforcement will have one more point to add:
You have the right to remain silent. . .
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.