I've been kind of sitting on this Steve Breen cartoon for a few days because I didn't know quite what to say about it.
Beyond, "What is the matter with you people?"
The complicated part is that, while everyone seems to either be ignoring the threat or appears untroubled by it, that could be part of the problem. Maybe all those people saying, "So what?" are Russian plants.
When the problem is professional trolls dominating and directing the national conversation, it's hard to get a grip on what real people are actually thinking.
Though perhaps they aren't.
People are gullible. And we throw Mencken's alleged quote around, but the actual quote is worse than the "nobody ever went broke by underestimating the taste" variant usually cited:
No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
And here's what he said about the Presidency:
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
If you look to see what else Mencken had to say, you'll find that he was a hateful and unpleasant man.
However, having just watched the national dialogue over the Roy Moore candidacy, I would add that Mencken was not the last commentator to base his contempt for the opposition on bigotry, though he channeled it through race and creed rather than relying entirely on class.
It's instructive, and depressing, to see how many contemporary pundits feel free to depict the rural poor as the barefoot inbred morons of pop-culture stereotypes.
Do such people exist? Sure.
Are there any lazy, drug-dealing welfare cheats in your city? Ah.
Tom Gauld has a more expansive view of stupidity, and I like it because it emphasizes the voluntary, classless nature of ignorance.
Anybody with a college degree or even a half-credible high school diploma should know better than to rely on comforting bullshit, and should, for instance, sometimes pause and use the marvels of Google to look something up before repeating it.
But I've sat in meetings -- particularly school board meetings but also department head meetings -- in which people said, in nearly this direct a manner, what Gauld accuses them of saying.
If you genuinely think that only backwoods hillbillies brand unwelcome news as "fake," you have either never sat in on these sorts of meetings or you have worked very hard to avoid hearing what was said there.
And good citizens go to meetings from time to time, so, whichever shoe fits ...
Mr. Boffo sums up the election of 2016 and everything that has followed, and a whole lot more that has little to do with politics.
Part of the shift over the last generation and a half has been the expansion of information offered by cable and the Internet, and the subsequent loss of gatekeepers.
This was initially hailed as democratization, but the best that can be said at this stage is that we're in a period of deep over-correction in which people continue to believe whatever they're told, only there's no longer any control over who's telling them things.
Case in point:
Slidell, Louisiana, police arrested this unlikely looking fellow for being the middleman in a number of Nigerian Prince scams.
There's been a fair amount of on-line laughter over the whole thing.
After all, "Nigerian Prince" scams are the hallmark of things only total idiots would believe, and most of the laughter is coming from people who apparently didn't read the reports to find that he was only a middleman for actual scammers in Nigeria.
Or that the FBI figures the scams have brought in $4.6 billion since 2012.
And let's analyze that astounding figure a bit: When I worked on the US/Canadian border, we'd get called in when the authorities made a big haul, like the van they disassembled in order to recover 54 kilos of cocaine.
Which we all knew, though we didn't say, was not nearly as much cocaine as crossed the border in vehicles which had not aroused suspicion.
Similarly, I rather suspect that the $4.6 billion that the FBI knows about is a mere fraction of actual losses by people, many of whom were embarrassed to report their foolishness or perhaps were afraid they'd be in trouble or maybe assumed (correctly) that nothing could be done.
The persistence of Nigerian Prince scams alone ought to be a clue: If they didn't work, they wouldn't continue to exist.
$4.6 billion over five years is not chickenfeed, and that's only the amount reported.
If they were the only scammers out there, it might be different. However, while being at a small paper gave me neither the time nor the resources to do much in depth, I used to sometimes go after smaller scams -- phony time shares and such -- and I came away with the distinct impression that there is a very large industry devoted entirely to shearing sheep.
Which wouldn't be true if it weren't profitable.
Meanwhile, people continue to surrender their addresses, identities and personal information to Facebook scammers who want them to "Say Amen and share" or find out what character from Star Wars they are or show that they care about a fictional disabled child or that they can, indeed, remember what an egg beater is or name a song that begins with "T."
And to believe that someone doesn't want them to say "Merry Christmas."
And that the Russians are our friends.
Indeed, Real Life Adventures. But next year will be different. You can bet on it.
And you probably will.
Seven-year bitch(Feb, 26, 2011)