The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week 3/6/12

Third place must go to some Jedward fan. Jedward went out to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday, and didn’t do too well. Apparently not being able to hold a note is some sort of negative in a singing contest. Who knew?

Anyway, Jedward are the Irish answer to Justin Bieber and One Direction in terms of the cult-like Twitter following they encourage, and Saturday could see this brigade in fine voice, supporting the two brothers, spamming messages calling for people to vote for them (even to Irish Twitter users, barred from voting for their own entry) and complaining, loudly and crudely, when they finished 19th of 26.

As part of my Eurovision review of last week I hopped onto Wikipedia the following day and happened upon this piece of info on the Contest’s page. I grabbed a screenshot before it was deleted.

The citation for this paragraph led to a ESC fan page that mentioned nothing whatsoever about the paragraph’s contents. Neither did any media, of any sort.

So, some Jedward fan(s) manufactured a fake story of fraud in terms of voting, fake evidence to back up that claim, fake assertions regarding Irish support in Germany (they were in the background! They must have had loads), lied about a website reporting this outrage, implied that Jedward were the actual winners, then indicated that the ESC’s governing body was refusing to investigate the manner.

Naturally enough, the Jedward Twitter brigade picked up on it, and citing a Wikipedia paragraph as Gospel, got “fakevision” trending, and declared Jedward the “real” winners of Eurovision.

This is not just the one of the stupidest things I’ve read this week, it is one of the saddest I have ever seen on the internet. It’s utterly pathetic and pitiable that someone out there is so “into” Jedward as to put in the time and energy to make up this story, then go ahead and insert it into Wikipedia, perhaps in a truly creepy effort to make themselves feel better about their idols losing out. And the Twitter following backed them up wholesale, refusing to even use the slightest bit of common sense in regards checking sources. This person needs to realise that there is more to life then a very mediocre boyband, regardless of their age and emotional maturity. This is not healthy behaviour.

You may ask why I devoted so much time and space to something like this, but when you have a contender for stupidity, you have a contender.

Second place is in visual form, going to the Referendum Commission for the recent Fiscal Treaty vote. I have a whole raft of complaints to make about the Ref Comm coming up this week, but this will suffice for now. 1.10 in:

The important line is: “If a country doesn’t put this into national law, it could be fined by the European Curt of Justice”.

This is important because the way this ad is framed, they make it sound like Ireland will be fined for voting “No”. Focusing in on the guys face as he starts a new paragraph of speech with “Irish law will have to say…” without mentioning “in the event of ratification” is not the best way to be clear.

Because while the ECJ could fine us if we ratify the Treaty and then fail to put its conditions into law, they can’t do it if the Treaty isn’t ratified. This poorly edited Ref Comm ad was broadcast on television and linked around the internet in order to support participation in the referendum and, in my opinion, to support a “Yes” vote.

Now, this would be a pretty blatant lie if it was one, even by political standards. So, I imagine it is simply a bad script blunder, a mixed up fragment of a sentence that somehow made it past the final judgement, past those filming the ad, past those editing it, past those uploading it to Youtube. That’s a pretty appalling failure in terms of basic fact checking and clear political point making from what is a very important organisation, but I suppose it is hardly surprising given the bias that was being shown  by the Commission from day one of its existence for this debate.

But the winner this week is the North Carolina state legislature and one law they’ve recently passed, as detailed in this piece by Scientific American’s Scott Huler. Once you get past the inflammatory headline of that article, you get into the nitty-gritty of a jaw-dropping act of political insanity.

Essentially put, the North Carolina legislature was given some disconcerting news from scientific reports regards the rapid rise in tide levels on the shore of the Old North state. Basically, they’re rising fast, putting at risk a large amount of property on the coast.

When faced with this data, North Carolina responded, apparently, in the only way they could possibly contemplate: they established new legislation altering the way that such tidal records are kept and referred to, or predicted in studies, essentially limiting them to only using data that has been previously recorded, ignoring any new developments.

Or to put another way, when faced with bad news from the scientific community of a problem that would only get worse and have to be dealt with, they ordered the scientific community to change the way they measured data in order to make the problem disappear from reports. They have decided to pass laws and regulations that make the problem non-existent on paper, in the hope that such an act will make the problem non-existent in reality.

This is really bizarre, the very epitome of cutting off your nose to spite your face. American legislatures are frequently anti-climate change and anti-science provided bad news. North Carolina has further gotten a bad rep, internationally at least, from some other laws passed in the state recently.

But this is something else entirely. This is sheer idiocy, a mindless denial of basic scientific facts so they don’t have to deal with a very serious issue. It’s playing the stupidest kind of politics with peoples lives and property, all in a bid to escape the fact that sea levels are rising.

Is it a surprise that North Carolina is a Republican controlled state? No, it is not. Good luck with your tidal problem NC, the one that stopped existing overnight. Somehow.

Pretty stupid, right?

This entry was posted in Fiscal Compact Referendum, Ireland, Politics, Stupidest Thing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week 3/6/12

  1. Jim says:

    Actually, there’s a cynically brilliant reason for that, Dave. North Carolina has a shitload of its income from coastal tourism and summer houses and shit, and open word of rising sea levels would harm that. By effectively silencing some of that, a bunch of interests in North Carolina can continue making money until the insurance companies get called in after houses start subsiding.

  2. Pingback: Fiscal Compact: Aftermath | Never Felt Better

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