Posted by: Godfångst | February 21, 2009

Scapegoats and Wife Swappers

img_1625If you listen to the media buzz, the January 30 episode of Wife Swap proves that San Francisco is full of fruit loops, phony liberals, Eurosnobs and toffee-nosed Brits who insult “real” Americans, like those who come from the red states. We’re a bunch of latte-drinking, lobster-eating, hemp-wearing, tree-hugging, hybrid-driving, liberal-voting, meat-rejecting, American soldier-hating, unpatriotic flakes.

What this episode of Wife Swap, a deplorable show with a digusting, sexist premise, really shows is that even a fairly well-educated, reasonably intelligent human being goes ape when put in front of the TV camera and given some money and some stage direction. Lots of people act badly sometimes. But there seems to be little forgiveness for mistakes and stupidity these days, and all three concepts go waaaaaay back–as far as humans go. There was stupidity before the Bible, or, if you’re a fundie, human history began with an act of stupidity. A mistake.

But people seem to be out for blood–at times, quite literally. Mr. Fowler had his phone number and address broadcast on the internet. Suleman has received many, many death threats. If you Google “blog hate Nadya Suleman,” you get about 89,000 hits, one of which is Dr. Laura. Now there’s a surprise. If you Google “blog hate Stephen Fowler,” you get about 3,400. Bernie Madoff hate even prompted Lauren Young to write a piece in BusinessWeek called “Why I Hate Bernie Madoff.”

Maybe the nation just needs a scapegoat right now–the black-hole-sized vacuum left by the departure of Mr. Bush needs to be filled somehow, after all. We now have Fowler and The Octomom to hate, since Saddam Hussein is dead and Osama bin Laden may never be seen in public again.

I wish some of that energy could go into protest against the bank bailouts or the less-desirable aspects of the stimulus package or this STUPID forced digital TV transformation we’re all going through. I AM NOT BUYING A BOX SO I CAN WATCH PUBLIC TELEVISION!

Sometimes I think the blogosphere is the best and worst thing that ever happened to activism–now, when we’re really angry, we sit on our asses and blog about it. In the Ukraine or in Chile, they take the day off work (if they have a job) and march to City Hall. That’s what we should have done about the stupid California budget. But it would take more than a couple busloads of teachers and shipyard workers. If we had as many protesters as we do bloggers, we’d have nationalized healthcare, government-subsidized childcare, the protections of marriage for all–married or not, and lots of other highly desirable goodies.

We need fewer blogs and more pitchforks, torches, and protest marches, I think. I vow to forgo writing next time and go out and protest something I feel strongly about. More boycotts. More clever signs like the one I saw at a Prop. 8 protest, “Focus on your OWN family!” I’m gonna make a sign and get out there and protest.

But it won’t be about the Octomom. Walmart gets a lot more of my tax money than she does.

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