If you look at your Facebook feed, you’ll find two thirds of the posts look like the above, with a loud screaming headline and a dubious quote that the person pictured may or may not have actually said. The political ones are particularly bad. Supporters of just about every candidate make outrageous claims about the opposition, question why anyone would support someone else, and even put up math a second-grader would call out as fundamentally bad.
Conspiracy theories are posted as fact because someone wrote words over a picture of one of the Rothschilds (an increasingly irrelevant family on the world stage) or the Koch Brothers. And hey, it’s on the Internet, so it’s true.
But woe to you if you call them out. I recently posted a photo of Bernie Sanders holding up a card that read “Trump Like Nickelback.” Don’t know if it was Photoshopped, though candidates in years past have been known to slip out of campaign mode for a well-placed prank at their opponents’ or their own expense. Hell, Hillary Clinton made fun of her own campaign style on The Colbert Report, announcing “I have a plan” when the show suffered a technical glitch. Someone got upset that I was picking on Nickelback, except that this person only seemed to complain about jokes at the expense of Donald Trump.
But hey, you found a picture of Jenny McCarthy that had words perpetuating the myths about vaccines and autism, so that obviously proves she’s not spouting nonsense. Right? I mean it’s words on the Internet next to her picture, so it has to be true. It’s kind of like ads for dubious health products. If it has animation depicting the product’s effects, then of course it works.
I suppose there are limits. I mean you can’t post inspirational quotes by Hitler. Or can you? I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t work, but if I posted one, some deranged idiot would take it as gospel and repost it. Mussolini, on the other hand…
That’s how ridiculous these things look. And I’m guilty of it. But when a reality star is running for president, it’s kind of hard not to indulge in some of the jokes that generates. Hey, I used to do standup. Never know when a late night talk show gig will open up.
It’s all part of the bumper sticker mentality. How many times have you gone down the highway and rolled your eyes at some bit of “wisdom” someone slapped on their bumper, thinking “Stupid hippie” or “Stupid redneck”? (Notice there’s hardly a middle ground?) Well, the bumper stickers have moved to the Internet.
And you don’t have to carved up your bumper to get rid of them.