Fake news reigns.
As proof, consider in recent weeks that we've been subjected to these two viral stories:
- Olympian Adam Rippon, who received more publicity for finishing 10th in individual competition than several American gold medalists have gotten in the past — simply because he likes to troll the vice president with the fact that he's sexually attracted to his fellow dudes. Imagine if he finished 9th. Medal of Honor, perhaps?
- How the great movie “Black Panther” was praised by Salon for being the first blockbuster featuring a black hero — you know, except for all the ones featuring Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and many others. Heck, he's not even Marvel's first black cinematic hero. Wesley Snipes was first, starring in the "Blade" trilogy of films while we were still in the 20th century.
It’s just that sort of easily discredited and juvenile garbage — garbage that unfortunately appears with equal levels of obsession from some right-wing media voices as well — that comedian Bill Maher recently highlighted. Almost like he was Gordon Ramsey shining a black light on all the hidden germs at some seedy hotel pretending to be clean.
For that we owe him thanks, no matter how often his progressive atheism has led him astray in the past. Not only has he recently stepped up and called out Islam in a way few conservatives have the guts to, but now he seems as willing as anyone to ridicule and reject the safe-space culture, which has turned much of the regular flow of information available to the public into a petty tantrum that should never be confused with real journalism.
If that still even exists.
“No wonder ‘fake news’ resonates so much with Trump fans,” said Maher. “Because so much of it IS fake. Just nonsense made to keep you perpetually offended with an endless stream of ‘controversies’ that aren’t controversial and outrages that aren’t outrageous.”
Preach it high and preach it low, Brother Bill. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
There has been some earnest concern in recent years, from myself included, regarding how we're going to maintain our status as United States for future generations, given the existential nature of our divide. We can even turn which bathroom to use into an argument these days. It prompts the question, "How can we still be one America when we clearly disagree on what it means to be an American?"
The answer to maintaining some semblance of cultural cohesiveness in a time of cultural upheaval can perhaps be found in Maher's rant — let us at least agree that we hate being urinated upon and told it's raining.
If various sectors of the ideological spectrum can still unify around disdain for horse manure, then we can have the sort of vehement but honest debate previous eras of our ancestors were fortunate to use to iron out their differences. In a truth-seeking culture, we can find ways to accommodate even differences on what the truth is.
But a culture that has given up on truth-seeking, and only considers what it wants to be true to be the truth, is a culture that has essentially given up on itself.