For the eight years of the Bush presidency (those dark days before Obama won the election and appointed a unicorn secretary of state and a leprechaun secretary of defense and everyone in Washington started pooping rainbows) I've wondered HOW people could believe the lies spread by the right-wing media.
Today, I have my answer:
Because they wanted to.
And do you know how I know this? Because, faithful readers, I have been HAD, but I was complicit in my own...hadding (remember I said that, it's going to seem really funny about five paragraphs from now).
I believed the Fox news report that Sarah Palin did not know Africa was a continent. I read it on the Huffpo, was intrigued enough to watch a related clip on YouTube, then happily referenced this "fact" several hundred times during the next week.
Until a friend pointed out to me that a) it was really unlikely Palin thought Africa was a country (my argument had been it made sense, because what she can't see from her front porch, she can't know) and b) it was odd that I was believing Fox News now, after eight years of dismissing the entire network as an affirmative action program for congenital liars.
And the answer, of course, is that I believed it BECAUSE I WANTED TO. And I still want to. Oh how I want to. But I do not think, in all honesty, that I can.
Now, on a seemingly unrelated note, I, for reasons I actually cannot explain, I also recently watched a clip from an Oprah interview with Jennifer Aniston (so much for that little dinner party trick where I pretend I've never heard of either of them and ask people to 'hum the theme to Friends to see if it jogs my memory,' or explain why anyone would want to announce the results of a paternity test on national television).
Having laughed and laughed and laughed at Sarah Palin for her inability to complete a coherent sentence, I watched these two high-profile Obama supporters with some embarassment. This (my god, what won't I do for you people?) is a (reasonably) accurate transcript of about 2 minutes of the Oprah (O)/Aniston (A) interview:
O.…that I thought, this time last week everyone was talking about the election, now it’s WHAT JENNIFER SAID
O.…on the on the cover of Vogue.
O. And what you said was what Angelina did was very uncool
A. I didn’t say that exactly…But you know what? That was, unfortunately, so not en vogue in my opinion, but…you know, the the the cover line does not even come i…the contents does not reflect the cover.
O. It’s really a wonderful story. Okay, well I will say, Jonathan Van Meter …ah…he…he’s
A. He's great.
O. He’s a great interviewer…I love the story… but you…is this out of context? You did say what Angelina did was very uncool? You did say that, you just didn’t expect it to be on the cover.
A. Well, no …ah…you don’t expect…He asked me a question and I basically just answered it as honestly as I could. You know I don’t … I don’t go there. You know what I mean?
O. Yeah, yeah.
A. Cause it’s a hundred years old, for chrissake.
(Audience hoots, cheers, claps)
A. It’s true.
O. But okay, since it’s…you know…
A. And a hundred, to be exact.
O. And a hundred an’…but since it’s what all the pundints (sic) or newspeople were talking about this morning
O. What you’re saying was uncool was a statement that Angelina had made earlier, saying that ..uhhhh… it would be nice, later on, to have their children look at the film of them falling in love. That’s what you were referring to, right?
A. Su…Somethin’ like that.
O. Yeah, the that…that it was very uncool.
A. You know…d’I don’t know…by it’s that’s just me
O. Okay, so…ahhh…
A. What else did they say? What else they talkin’ about?
O. They actually didn’t go into cause you know, what you go into in this article with Jonathan Van Meter in Vogue I thought it’s so good
O. This whole oh oh poor Jen
O. Sh-she’s dating. Is she dating? Is she not?
O. How’s she doing?
O. You seem to be doing pretty good, to me. Pretty well.
A. I know, but you know what? I got (hoots, cheers, applause)
O. And even
A. I think that that
A. The the you know the the the unfortunate reality is that good news just isn’t as interesting and I think that, you know, especially at a time when there’s such positivity in in the collective of what’s going on, negativity is still what sells.
Okay, I'll make it stop. (The real interview went on considerably longer and they may both have become more eloquent... but I doubt it.)
Now, Aniston is an actress, so can be forgiven if, when without a script, she wanders away from the rules of standard English like a steer that's just found a hole in the fence. But Oprah runs a MEDIA EMPIRE. She talks for a living. AND she prefaced this interview by saying it was going to be about what Jennifer SAID, implying that the things Jennifer says are of some import. Yet, if you boil down what Jennifer says in this interview, it basically amounts to, "Yeah."
And suddenly, I have to at least give Palin credit for trying to talk about serious issues even though the results were very, very sad.
Then again, had Katie Couric used her time with Palin to discuss the Aniston/Pitt breakup, I'd probably still be laughing.
Instead of doing what I'm doing now.
Pass the crow, please...
[Pictured, above left: Jonathan Van Meter. You didn't really think I'd post a picture of Oprah or Jennifer Aniston, did you?]