Monday, July 16, 2012

It is AMAZING how seriously everything is taken on the Internet

Anthony Cumia, half of Sirius/XM's Opie and Anthony Show has invented, or at least popularized, a new sport - Twitter-Baiting.  He'll take what could be best described as a "contrary view" to a popular issue of the day, and sits back and watches the heartfelt pleas and vitriol roll in.

A few months back, he took the side of noted partier and (alleged, alleged) child-killer Casey Anthony.  Just started posting how she was getting pilloried in the media, and needed to get a fair shake in her trial.  Nothing that would sound unreasonable if you weren't talking about such a universally hated person.  (OK, he also said he wanted to bring her up to his palatial compound on Long Island for a celebratory party after the verdict, but hey, exaggeration is a tenet of comedy)

People came down on him like a house afire.  By a little judicious hash-tagging, he made sure that his comments were being seen by people who were tracking the issue, but had no idea who he was.  And for some reason, they responded to him with such verse and vigor to change his mind, you'd think he was the judge on the case.  He'd regularly claim that any woman who was against Casey was, to varying degrees, jealous, ugly, and fat.  Which as you can imagine, did SUCH a good job to calm them down.  It was truly a sight to behold.  Like sharks in a tank full of chum.  They were all so DESPERATE to change his mind, as if it would somehow change the minds of the world.

He's been doing it again concerning the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case.  All he's done is tossed out innocuous statement suggesting that Mr. Zimmerman's feelings of being under threat might have been sufficiently legitimate, at least in his own mind, to warrant his actions.  And oh, do the well-meaning busybodies come out in force.  Here though, there's not as much attempt to change his mind, but a patent disbelief that he could even ENTERTAIN a varying mindset.  It's a subtle shift, but a telling one.

Now, in neither case do I even suspect the opinions expressed in any way represent Mr. Cumia's actual beliefs.  Like many on-air performers, like Rush and Glenn Beck, he takes a radically opposite position to get conversation flowing.  And brother, does he succeed.  Most of the conversation the aforementioned conservative hosts share are in agreement to them.  And that's usually as creepy as the radically dedicated to changing his mind that Anthony shares.  In both cases, we're talking about views deliberately crafted to allow no compromise - it's their way or, forget that one.

But in both cases, it's not as much a desire to get "the truth" out there, it's a desire to be the guy who changed Joe Famousguy's mind.  No matter how many people have come up and fallen against these people, this next guy is CONVINCED that he'll be the one to make the scales fall from the pompous windbag's eyes, and make him see the light.

And I listen (or read) and laugh, and await the inevitable.  It's like each time a new person asks Dr. Laura for help, honestly thinking that THEIR story of having five kids with four men, and no job nor prospects, will miraculously be the one to melt her heart and get her to offer assistance.  And each time, I ask my empty car, "Did this lady ever HEAR this show?"

It's a verbal, electronic equivalent of a dollar bill on a string.  There is ALWAYS someone ready to fall for it.

1 comment:

  1. This is still relevant, so I'll comment (god have mercy).

    I wouldn't say these internet personas are trying to keep the conversation going. I think they are actually trying to poison and destroying every possibility of an actual conversation with polemics.

    Same goes for any form of baiting. This kind of provocation is easy and cheap. You don't have to be that bright to pull it off and have fun with it. And it's never a challenge. That's not really a good thing.

    I get why baiters and self-proclaimes "trolls" are enjoying feelings of their own superiority. They feel like "playing" lesser-minded folks, enjoying the predictable outcome and the benign power they seem to weild about everyone "getting emotional" because of them. In the end, though, they are just adding fuel to the fire of mass hysteria that has been the cause of many of our modern problems - and they are doing it only for themselves.

    Don't fool yourself into believing that this is in any way of merit, supposedly because it "mirrors" social behaviour and therefor educates. It doesn't. Angry people don't learn and they don't change their perspective. They only get angrier, then they get resentful and finally hateful and mad. It's a wildfire that spreads and posions every important dialogue of our society, to the point where even those who are affecting our daily lives or the well being of ourselves and others is nothing more bute a joke.