The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week (14/4/12)

Third place goes to this tweet:

RTE’s League of Ireland highlight show decided to show some footage of a women’s football game last week. A few people, followers of First Division clubs in the LoI, were annoyed as the show in question, MNS, never shows highlights of that division. The above was one of the responses. That is, indeed, someone equating criticism of showing some women’s football highlights to criticism of the female suffrage movement.

It’s somewhat pathetic to try and win a point by portraying your opponent as attacking something as rock-solidly positive as women’s suffrage. I tend to think the other side has a point. Showing a few minutes of women’s soccer is great. Showing a few minutes of Ireland’s other division would be great too. Equating that this line of thinking is an attack on women’s rights is pretty stupid.

Second place goes to this and all political cartoons of an assorted nature, this one by Glenn Foden:

Edit: The cartoon in question is no longer available, but depicted President Obama wearing a hoodie and using imagery associated with the Trayvon Martin case in order to score political points.

Basically, we have the stereotypical depiction of President Obama with the long neck and big ears, but this time he’s wearing a hoodie and bad mouthing the Republicans. The message being “Hey look at our President taking advantage of Trayvon Martin’s death for political gain!”

This is very stupid. It crosses so many lines. Comparing the POTUS to a dead kid? Look around the internet, and you’ll find many examples like this one, or derivatives. These are people who hear the President of the United States comment in the most general and tamest terms on the violent death (I will, painfully, stop just short of calling it murder) of a 17 year old in incredibly suspicious and eye-raising circumstances, and decide that he simply must be using the tragedy for his own gain. This is from a group of people who could see Obama defeat Lucifer is single combat and somehow skew it to be a negative thing, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. But this particular cartoon, coming in the wake if a succession of idiotic justifications for the act that resulted in this young mans death – not least being this “stand your ground” nonsense – just got to me.

It isn’t the winner though. This week’s first prize goes to a significant proportion of the internet, in regards to the Daily Mail. No linking to it, for reasons that will become obvious.

Two weeks ago the Daily Mail published an article from a woman named Samantha Brick. The general gist was that Brick felt that her good looks made other people jealous of her and resulted in discrimination against her throughout her life. Brick is, at least according to the very staged photos that accompanied the article, a somewhat plain woman. Not hideous, not a supermodel.

Of course, the internet couldn’t link around this story fast enough, and the whole thing has been expanded with follow-up articles from the same woman, responses, satire, talk-show appearences etc. People declare this woman to be crazy, pretentious, up her own arse, and deluded. Added to that, the Daily Mail is a terrible rag for allowing it to take place.

You’ve all seen this, linked around, on Facebook, on Twitter, discussed on TV wherever. Odds are, you have a friend who has attempted to draw your attention with a link to this story. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself.

People, the Daily Mail is laughing at you.

The paper has been pulling this stuff for so long it’s not even funny anymore. Just the right kind of story to provoke the right kind of outrage. To get people to link their website around. Can you imagine how much traffic, how much advertising revenue the Daily Mail could have pulled in from this? And they do it all the time. You remember, not so long ago, that piece that swept around the internet about right-wing conservatives being stupider then left-wing liberals according to some “study”?

Exact same thing. The Daily Mail put it out and the internet couldn’t wait to spread the link around. I saw it on my Facebook feed three times in an hour, once from a liberal scoffing, once from a conservative frothing and once from an unaffiliated person who found it interesting. I couldn’t count the amount of times I saw it on Twitter.

The Daily Mail loves doing this, loves pushing the right buttons. But more than anything else, they love hits. They love views. They love site traffic. And oh my, did Samantha Brick create it, whether she really believes the stuff she wrote, whether it was just a crock of BS, worded just right to make the world wide web’s denizens go “lol, look what this hideous troll has to say about herself!”.

This wasn’t some legitimate opinion piece, some worthy piece of news. This was classic Daily Mail flamebait, designed purely to get as much linkage and attention as possible. It worked.

The Brick stuff will probably be the Daily Mail’s most popular and successful article of the year. The internet, which so often accompanied its linkage with ridicule aimed at the woman and the paper, made it happen. And that is pretty stupid.

This entry was posted in Football 11/12, Politics, Sport, Stupidest Thing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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