Gosh, it’s been a wonderful week for the millions who thrive on Schadenfreude, the ugly delight we take in the misfortunes of others. Is there anything better than joining vast herds of the lemming-minded so we can all feel smug and superior as we watch people humiliated? It’s better than the opening weeks of “American Idol.” In 1984 they had the Two-Minute Hate. We’ve got the 24.7 Sneer!
First, Newt Gingrich and the Glitter Queen. As almost everyone knows by now, some gay “activist” dumped a box of glitter all over Newt and his current wife while they were meeting and greeting. The scene has been replayed on cable TV hundreds of times and it’s all over the Web on sites like the Huffington Post.
I’m not providing a link here because I think it was a shabby, disgraceful incident that did further damage to our tattered social fabric. Public figures should not be subject to attacks by exhibitionist morons. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but if you got cheap thrills from seeing Bad Newt humiliated, imagine for a moment that it had happened to a Good public figure you support.
What if a 380-pound housewife dumped a gallon of cream gravy over Michelle Obama’s head and yelled, “Tell the Food Police to keep their hands off my Big Macs!” Would that be like , y’know, really cool? Or would we then hear somber calls for civility and moderation and calmly discussing our differences?
If you think the Gingrich incident was a ton of fun, you are implicitly “voting” for a world in which the same thing, or worse, could happen to Michelle Obama or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. What’s glitter for the goose is gravy for the gander.
It also shouldn’t be necessary to say that I would not vote for Gingrich. I’m not exactly sure what his positions are–and he doesn’t seem to know either– but at the very least he is an ultra-hypocrite. As friend and fellow blogger TheFabSage put it:
Now on his third marriage, the Newtster, always a professing Christian and crusading “family values” moralist and now a convert to Catholicism, was immersed in one of his clandestine affairs even while snorting and frothing for the ouster of the philandering Bill Clinton. And that’s just a tiny portion of the glorious tower of morality that his candidacy presents to our messiah-seeking nation.
All true. Newt pushes the hypocrisy envelope way past the tearing point. It would be one thing if a serial adulterer ran as a libertarian, or a French cabinet minister, or even a liberal who didn’t want to crusade one way or another against family values. But to have led his life, and then presume to lecture others who stray from Jesus’ fold, is just way, way too much.
But we can believe all that and still feel very uneasy about the national lip-smacking over the Glitter Attack, which had the strange effect of actually making me admire Gingrich for a moment. Amazingly, he kept his cool during this absurd assault, which most people, myself included, could not have done. I would have made every effort to launch myself across the table at the glitter-flinger. I wish they would press charges against him.
As for the End Times gang, what can you say? At any given time there is some odd cult wailing about the Final Days. I’ve lost count of the bumper stickers that read “In Case of Rapture, This Vehicle Will Be Unmanned.”
Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. I feel sorry for these sad, deluded people with their primitive theology, and I take no pleasure in knowing that come Sunday morning, they will look even sillier than they do now. Rather than poking microphones at them, we should avert our eyes as we would when encountering a double amputee or a victim of terrible burns. Just as these unfortunate people have been physically maimed, the Rapturites have been intellectually maimed. It’s pitiful that their search for some coherent meaning in the universe has led them to such anti-scientific nonsense, but that doesn’t justify turning them into pinatas of ridicule.
The media attention to this carnival of bunk has been astonishing, because there is no news value here. Contrast this with the Westboro Baptist cult, subjects of the recent Supreme Court decision, or the Bible-thumping Floridian whose threats to burn the Koran led to violence in the Middle East. At least these were nuts with actual impact on the world. The Rapture crowd is nothing but a freak show.
If there was truth in broadcasting, each news item or TV feature about them would be prefaced with these words: “Hey, folks, let’s all gather ’round the set and giggle at a bunch of antediluvian clowns who are going to wake up Sunday morning and be the laughing stocks of the world.”