Welcome to the Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.
It was a simple rule. There are three things you do not discuss in polite conversation: sex, religion, and politics.
Scratch the latter off the list.
Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, the politically minded and motivated feel the need to express themselves whenever they want, however they want, and as often as they can to an audience potentially in the millions. Their favorite method of ranting seems to be the ubiquitous message board at the end of news stories by the Associated Press, Reuters, and the like.
And despite the fact that these postings are written by people all across the country, most of the message board rants start the same way, with a childish insult of our president -- "Obooba," "Oilbama" -- and devolves quickly from there. If there is something intelligent to be gleaned from these postings, such information is buried so far in the posting it's impossible to dig up through the infantile insults, egregious misspellings, and second-grade grammar. Has smart, thoughtful political discussion also gone the way of polite discourse?
Normally, such political rants wouldn't bother me -- free speech, especially to someone in the media -- is vitally important. But do I really care to read a political diatribe against "liberal agenda" on a story about a New Zealand village that's for sale?
Or 10 reasons to hate the "Dumbo-crats" (as they're often called) posted after a science story?
The worst was the political rants made in a message board following a story about a tree limb in Central park zoo falling and killing an infant and injuring the mother:
"Democrats in NY have demanded that all trees in the park must be cut down to prevent further deaths.
And attached it to a jobs stimulus bill and be counted as saved or created jobs .
And All tree cutters must be union workers and must have voted for obama."
All class, that poster.
Look, there's a time and place for everything; hijacking message boards for non-political stories to convert others to your line of reasoning isn't the place.
That's why we have bumper stickers.
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