Hammer: Information Overload


Man. I'm suffering from information overload. After spending

a week following the exciting news from the Occupy protests around the world

and then reading the reader comments on various news sites, I'm ready to go

back to only reading about celebrities and sports.

If you ever want to make yourself so depressed about the

intelligence level of conservative Americans, spend a few days reading comments

on Yahoo News and any news story linked to Matt Drudge's website. You'll find

yourself wishing for a massive federal program to increase both digital and

English literacy among the folks who post there—as well as a massive

crash course on history.

Not only do many of the teabaggers seem intent on calling

the Occupy protesters communists, as if Ike was still living in the White House

and the Cold War was in full swing. The level of disjointed logic and

full-blown racism astonishes me.

I try my best, as a warrior for freedom, to push back

against these un-American sentiments, but it's a losing game. The arguments

start out with at least some degree of logic and then, three or four posts

later, someone calls Barack or Michelle Obama a gorilla and any possibility of

debate is lost.

I've never met an actual Communist in my life, but after

being called one 20 times in one week, I'm beginning to wonder if I somehow am

one. Surely, 50 semi-literate teabaggers can't be wrong, can they?

After an article on Drudge reported on the death of a man

near an Occupy protest in San Diego, the hate squad on the Internet went wild.

Cheering the man's death wasn't simply enough; they then went on to suggest

that all liberals set themselves on fire in the style of Buddhist monks in

1960s Vietnam.

By then I had had enough. I told them they'd better watch

out, that liberals had gotten more effective at the use of fire. Hadn't they

ever heard of Waco? The shitstorm that followed that comment was enough to get

me banned from the NBC San Diego website, but it was worth it.

Here's the ironic thing about the Rush Limbaugh/Fox News

conservatives. According to a media survey last year, the median age of Fox

News viewers was 65. For Limbaugh listeners, it was 67. So most of these angry,

hate-filled comments being made on the Internet are done by folks living off of

Social Security.

So when these same folks call the president the N-word, it's

on a computer and Internet connection paid for out of the 4.2 percent of my

income that goes to Social Security. Why am I subsidizing them? My wife and

myself each work more than 40 hours a week and don't have the luxury of being

able to watch hours of corporate-financed conservative propaganda. We're too

busy working.

There's no winning when it comes to debating conservatives

on the Internet because facts, logic and reason rarely come into play. Every

debate turns into, as Sean Penn said last week, "Let's get the N-word out

of the White House."

I've thrived on political debate for almost all of my life.

Stuff such as "The Panama Canal Treaties were bad because they ceded

American control over to a dictatorship" versus "This is a long-overdue

recognition of political reality."

Now there is no need to explain one's points in any kind of

cogent manner. Call one side a Nazi and the other side blessed by Jesus and be

done with it. The dark side of social media is that it allows hatred, lies the

same moral equivalency and ease of travel as it does informed discourse.

After engaging in hours of this sort of debate, I'm done

with it for now. Going forward, my only Facebook friends will be either actual,

real-life friends and co-workers, fellow writers, photographers (photography is

a hobby of mine) and models (ditto).

As for the tough economic, social and political issues of

the day, I need to take a break, even a brief one, from them. It's not even

2008 yet and the Republican candidates are trying to out-dumb themselves to

death and the president can't even get an emergency jobs bill passed despite

the fact that millions are without work.

And I'd love to take part in the Occupy protests but I'll

get written up for being two minutes late from work and my union is powerless

to help me. I'm rooting for them and I hope there can be a peaceful settlement

that allows the powerful 1 percent to give up a few more crumbs from their

tables to the remaining 99 percent. I'm not betting on it, though.

The fight for justice around the world will continue and the

struggles of the working poor against the select few winners of world

capitalism will continue. I just need to take a breather and read up on what

Bob Dylan and Scarlett Johansson have been up to. Just for a few days, at



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