DISSONANCE OVERLOAD

Posted in Rants on April 10th, 2012 by Ed

In general, internet comment sections are where hope goes to die. If you want to go from a good mood to being on your knees praying for a comet to hit the Earth and wipe out humanity, the fastest way to accomplish that is to read the comment sections on any general interest website. Big content providers (AOL, Yahoo, YouTube, AP, etc.), local newspapers (for some reason the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is the worst I've ever seen aside from the NY Post), and non-political niche interest sites (cars, sports, fashion, entertainment, etc.) are all guaranteed to destroy your psyche in five minutes flat if you dare to wade into the comments. This is doubly true when the topic at hand is even remotely political. And of course the people who troll the internet as though it is their life's calling can turn anything into an Obama bitchfest in less than three posts.

Because we are well aware of how bad most comment sections are – and some are quite good, particularly on sites with educated, relatively narrow audiences – it's a lazy form of blogging to use comments as fodder. I can't think of anything easier than copying what some idiot wrote on a Trayvon Martin story and saying "Look at how stupid this is!" Yet I think a simple comment section can turn into a wonderful mix of performance art and psychology experiment when that rare news item comes along that ties the brains of the Obama loathing trolls in knots. Cognitive dissonance can be a beautiful thing sometimes.

Take this story from the internet's most popular blog on the auto industry. Headline: "Treasury orders executive pay cuts at GM including CEO Akerson." Imagine for a moment you are the kind of doughy, inchoate pant-wetter who sits at a computer all day posting comments about Barack HUSSEIN Obummer on every news item you see. Your mind is being torn in so many directions here.

1. The government is telling a corporation what it can do. Socialism. BAD.
2. GM might fail. Obama gave GM money (note: forget the bailouts under Bush). GM fail = GOOD.
3. Your authoritarian-follower tendencies mean you worship the wealthy, so limiting compensation = BAD.
4. Limiting compensation means "the best talent will leave the company", proving that Barry Hussein does not understand business. GOOD.
5. GM got a lot of money from taxpayers. They need to pay it back before giving themselves raises! GRRR!

So GM should pay back the taxpayers, but rich executives need to be lavishly compensated, but Obama doesn't understand the free market, but GM needs to fail to prove that he was stupid to give them money, but…

Watch them run in circles in the comments. It's hilarious. They can't decide piss and moan about Obama giving GM money or Obama telling GM that it can't have more money. A similar thing happened a few weeks ago when the Department of Energy declined to give a massive loan to would-be auto startup Carbon Motors (which has been the Duke Nukem II of auto startups, by the way). The comments are hysterical in every sense of the term. These people have spent years bellyaching about how the government shouldn't be propping up failing or non-viable companies, except now when the government declines to do so it hates America and doesn't understand job creation. So just to clarify, it is terrible when Obama gives car companies money except when he doesn't, which is also terrible.

We know that these people will complain, often with violent anger, about anything Obama does. It's a special treat, however, to watch them argue two diametrically opposed viewpoints just to keep the president in the wrong about everything. He must always be wrong, so adjust reality accordingly.