Thursday, July 17, 2014

An idea for a new hashtag campaign — FREE!

One of the reasons I write blogs is because I don't have the energy or talent required to run a political action committee. In fact, I have a sort of allergy to PACs; when I get too close to bulls**t, my skin breaks out in a rash.

All things taken together, I suppose PACs are better to have than not. It's just another way we exercise our participation in the public square. And I suppose what I really object to — bulls**t by meme — isn't produced by real PACs but by individual liars with access to MemeGenerator or Cheezburger, a copy of Photoshop, and too much anger to be explained by social injustice alone.

I think what really drove me over the edge was a meme that claimed there are 241 (or some such) bills in various state legislatures being considered to "regulate women's bodies". Now, because it didn't quote a source for this number — memes rarely do quote sources — I had no way to check out what hat the creator pulled the number out of. But I'll bet you dinner at Denny's that, of the two-hundred-odd bills, none of them even implicitly mentions women's bodies, that the only reason any of them are considered to "regulate" women's bodies is because they deal with some aspect of abortion or contraception.

Almost within seconds of that item flashing by my Facebook status, Tom McDonald of God and the Machine posted the meme to your right. It was his own mea culpa, his confession to participating in the "dumbing-down of humanity". Now, Tom is one of the most incisive and lucid writers in the Catholic blogosphere, with a high degree of sensitivity to bulls**t. If he can get caught with his pants down, what hope does Your Humble Blogger have?

So here's the hashtag campaign I suggest for anyone who wants to quarterback it:

I checked; nobody's using it.

That's all it is: Stop the Bullshit. Stop making up facts or distorting the ones available. Stop lying to play on people's fears. Stop lying to stoke the anger and the hatred. Stop lying to demonize the opposition. Stop pretending that good outcomes justify fake facts. Stop with the tribalist identity politics. Stop the bullshit.

Will it work? Probably not; the major problem is, half the people responsible for the bullshit in the Internet think they're telling the truth, while the other half think lying is justified in their case.

But it might be fun for awhile.