July 01, 2011


Happy July 1st!

Or, as we call it here in Minnesota, "Government Shutdown Day!"

Okay, we don't actually call it that, but this year it applies, because the GOVERNMENT IS SHUT DOWN!

Which means absolutely nothing for the vast majority of people who are concentrating on their own little lives. Seriously, nobody really cares. All right, SOME people care--mostly people in newsrooms who type furiously about a shut down because nothing sounds quite as dire as the term "SHUT DOWN," so it makes for pseudo-compelling copy that fills the news hole and hopefully sells extra issues and garners page clicks. But, honestly, unless you had today slated on the calendar to get new license plates, a government shut down is about as troublesome as a cloudy day.

Now, if my body organs experience a shut down, that's a different story. But a government shut down? Stack me in the "meh" pile on that one.

It's amusing, in a "rake your eyeballs from your head with a cheese grater" sort of way to read the blatherating comment threads tacked on to the end of news articles about the shut down. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't read such nonsense, but I find it gives me strength to continue blogging when I read the mental goose poop of people who clearly want to be heard but lack the technical acumen to even figure out how Blogger works.

News article comment threads are an interesting social psychology study as a standalone topic in their own way, but when an article is about a government shut down--or politics in general, really--the truly obsessive nutballs come oozing out of the digital woodwork.

Seriously, the whole spectrum of online insanity emerges in such comment threads, which is why they're so interesting, in a "car wreck with multiple decapitations" sort of way. You get everything from the "Government is the problem" brevity crowd to the lecturing Poindexters who think they're a lot smarter than they are thanks to Google and Wikipedia (and, of course, whatever left or right political site(s) they have bookmarked for easy talking points).

It's all just so entirely tiresome. I'm not sure when online discourse morphed into the "Libbies" and "Cons" rhetoric, but I'm pretty certain it started in earnest around 2005 or thereabouts. Of course, nowadays you don't even have to start reading a comment; thanks to avatar pictures, you can see an image of a hammer and sickle superimposed over Obama's face, or Sarah Palin holding a bloodied Statue of Liberty in her lap like a hunting trophy, and you can pretty much ascertain what kind of thoughtful commentary that particular person feels compelled to disseminate into the digital ether. It all just seems like such an incredible waste of time--writes the guy who used to spar endlessly in his own blog comment threads.

But that was different! That was when comment threads were new and exciting. At least for me. At some point, scrolling through Fark threads and comment threads in general lost its luster. I guess, eventually, seeing the same arguments and points being made over and over and over and OVER again just didn't seem like it was worth my time.

This being the Internet, however, there are plenty of people just now, today, being introduced to the pointless and time-consuming world of online argumentation, in a sort of cycle of life for people without lives. I wouldn't be surprised to learn at some point that the real reason for the 9+ percent unemployment rate is due to people glued to their computer arguing about climate change instead of actually looking for a real job.

So, yeah, anyway. Minnesota is in the throes of a government shutdown, which means no camping for those folks who wanted to pitch a tent at a nearby state park for the long holiday weekend, which isn't something that really jerks tears from my eyes. I mean, gosh, "You can't go camping? How entirely horrible for you." I have an infant daughter who simply refuses to eat for reasons unknown, and our second vehicle went and completely died on me yesterday. So, you know, I basically could give less than two shits about the whole government shutdown thing.

Posted by Ryan at July 1, 2011 01:18 AM | TrackBack
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