I had a short conversation this afternoon with my buddy at work. He came up to me and asked if I’ve heard about the new law in New York. I said no, because I hadn’t, and still have yet to actually see what he’s talking about. He then promptly told me that they just passed a law allowing abortion all the way up until birth. I half-laughed a little bit and opened my mouth, as if to say something in response, but nothing came out. Before I could form a response he proceeded to tell me about a legislator in Virginia who proposed a law that would allow post-birth abortions.
My mouth stayed open as I absorbed what he had said and attempted to form an appropriate response. It took a few seconds. Eventually I asked him where he had heard this news, if he’d confirmed these claims for himself, or just taken somebody’s word for it. He said he’d read it in the Drudge Report.
I don’t know much about the Drudge Report. I know the name, but it isn’t a site I visit or read, and I have no idea if it is a valid source of information.
I’ve spent the last few weeks reading up on controversies and conspiracies in my free time, in an attempt to put together a robust remedy for, or at least response to, certain forms of cognitive dissonance; so I’ve been out of touch with current events. I was willing to grant that the state of New York had a development with regard to abortion laws, but I was not willing to accept that anybody voted to allow abortion of a full-term pregnancy. I have yet to get around to verifying this claim, honestly I tried and I gave up. Side note – I am personally opposed to abortion, but I think the answer lies at the heart of every man and woman, a focus on and willingness to accept personal responsibility for our lives and actions, and I know that you can’t legislate that; but my personal views aren’t relevant right now.
As Shawn and I stood opposed, he on the side of sensational news and myself on the side of reason and critical thinking, another guy walked up. This guy, we’ll call him James, walked up and watched our exchange for several seconds, to get some context for the conversation he was about to invade. I witnessed the look on his face change from normal afternoon exhaustion to tentative and bemused to excited as Shawn went on about abortion laws and government conspiracies and Davos agendas.
James interjected with the assertion that the the proposal in Virginia was signed into law. Saying that they didn’t even read it, just signed it and kept moving. I asked him if he was sure, reiterating that it was a proposal to allow POST BIRTH abortion, that that phrase itself is incoherent, that that is the plot of some absurd Onion piece or Borowitz Report. He said he was sure, that they just passed it today.
Before I could investigate any further Shawn jumped in with a statement about Ruth GATOR BINSBURG. He said that she had died and they decided they’d cover it up to avoid any potential upset with the emplacement of another conservative judge. I corrected him on her name, and then asked him what he was talking about. He said that some news broadcast briefly ran the report of her death on their ticker, but took it off within a few seconds.
My mind was blown. I could not keep up with this conversation. I was despairing at this intellectual dishonesty and these thinking errors. I corrected her name again, then asked why they would cover it up. Shawn said to preserve the status quo until they could find a fitting replacement. He then claimed that she had been advocating for laws allowing people to get married as young as twelve years old, and that she had been the first person to bring up post-birth abortions.
James then interjected with a claim that when Stephen Hawking died, in 2012 no less, he made the deathbed assertion that we’d see the rapture in seven years. This is where I gave up. I gave Shawn a look that said, “Sorry brother, I gotta go. You know I love and respect you, but I cannot be a part of this crap any longer. Good luck.” He nodded a bit, as if in acknowledgement of this unspoken sentiment, and broke eye contact. I quickly turned and walked straight to my car and drove home.
So, I got home from work and opened Flipboard, my current favorite news aggregator. I was going to give things a quick once over to see if I could find any news regarding New York’s abhorrent, alleged, abortion abrogation. My brain still hurt and my spirits were still low, so I decided I’d just do a cursory check before I got on to doing something productive.
Within seven or eight swipes I was at the point of giving up on everything and crawling into a bomb shelter and starving myself to death. Every single article that crossed my screen was a sensational reaction to something ridiculous someone else had done, there was not a single piece of legitimate, useful news. I saw articles about established TV shows being cancelled over bad jokes made in poor taste. I saw articles about people decrying media superstars over stupid tattoos they got in poor judgement. I saw articles about how stupid and evil certain politicians are, and I don’t disagree necessarily, but this partisan BS has got to go! I saw articles about the horrific deeds of some famous person or another, their insensitivity or their privilege or their appropriation of someone else’s appropriated conventions. Everything I saw was full of vitriol and self-centered outrage and sensational ad hominem attacks, not a single piece of actual information and not a single piece advocating self-reflection or critical thinking.
I think I’ll give it another go here in a while. I’ve calmed down and recentered my attention, and I think I might be able to tune out the tripe, though I’m still amazed at how silly and selfish we all have become.
Thanks for stopping in, I know how busy you all are and I thank you for spending some of your time here with me. Always remember to properly source the information that you use to build your worldview, emotionally compelling information especially.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading.” – Ray Bradbury