Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Utterly Ridiculous

It is ridiculous. Ridiculous. RIDICULOUS, I say. The fact that a crazy Florida preacher with a congregation of 50 people can virtually take the world hostage and hold it to his whims.

The mere fact that he managed to manipulate world events simply by merely threatening to burn a book publicly is simply astonishing. It has invited comments from the President, a three-star general, the United Nations, and various other notables from around the country, and, indeed, around the globe.

And it is entirely the fault of the society we live in today. This society, with its social networking sites, Youtube, and 24 hour cable news. 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, if this lunatic had announced his intention to publicly burn the Qu’ran, more than likely the reaction of the few folks who were around to hear him at the time would’ve probably been, “Meh. Who gives a shit?”

But not in today’s world. A world where rumors can spread all over the world via text message with a speed that would make a wildfire green with envy. Where anyone with a camera phone and a Youtube account can be an instant internet celebrity. Where tens of thousands spread gossip around the globe via Twitter within seconds. And where the cable news outlets, desperate to fill 24 hours a day of programming, latch onto any juicy story they find from these sources and inflate its prominence into something hundreds of times more than it ever should be.

This...creature...in Florida made a simple threat. And through the power of the internet, he was able to hijack the agenda of an entire nation. And we’re all to blame for it. We let this exploding genie out of the bottle. And now we have to live with it.

I’m not saying it’s entirely a bad thing. The internet, and, by extension, Youtube, text messaging, and Twitter, has many useful functions, on a societal, governmental, economic, and humanitarian level. But for every useful function you can think of, you can probably think of at least 10, 100, or even 1000 harmful ones. I’m not sure that’s an acceptable trade-off.

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