Watching the Meme Go By

So, I’ve watched the media-puffed Trayvon Martin meme go sailing by – and crash upon the iceberg of reality. Now it’s holed below the waterline, sinking fast, and a fair number of people who bought into it for one reason or another have quietly ducked into the nearest lifeboat and paddled away. They’re the most sensible element, of course: the rest are lined up on the boat deck, singing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’. Like a number of particularly deluded specimens at Open Salon, whose theme seems to be ‘Now we see the violence inherent in the system!’ alternating with choruses of ‘It’s all white people’s fault’. And for the record, no I haven’t gone around the OS threads arguing with any of these nimrods, or attempting to put them straight. Life is too short, and I have too much on my plate at this time to try and apply logic and good sense talking them out of a position that logic and good sense never had a hand in putting them into. As an old Air Force mentor of mine was wont to observe, ‘Sometimes ya just gotta stan’ back an’ let them fall on their sword. If ya wanna, afterwards ya can pull out the sword, wipe off the blood an’ ‘splain to them where where they went wrong…”

There’s a kind of mean satisfaction, in watching fools fall on their sword. It wasn’t the Greeks who had a word for it – but rather the Germans: Schadenfreude. But I digress. Everything that first came out in the national media organs about the melancholy Martin-Zimmerman imbroglio turns out to have been wrong, save that there was a shooting in a Florida suburb more than a month ago. Victim wasn’t a well-behaved honor student, wasn’t shot on the front porch, suspect was taken in for questioning, in handcuffs by the police; suspect was not, in point of fact, a white bigot who ruthlessly hunted him down. Really, it should have been pretty much a clue to everyone with an IQ above room temperature that the meme had been lovingly manufactured once Al ‘Freddy’s Fashion Mart’ Sharpton and Jesse ‘Baby Mama’ Jackson rode into town, brandishing the tattered flag of white racism for all it was worth. There is a constituency of die-hard believers still believing in the meme, but since it has begun to drop off the front pages, I venture to guess that many consumers of mainstream news have had their organ of skepticism belatedly activated.

And about damn time, too. I am wondering – as I have been ever since Dan Rather and the TANG debacle, how soon it will be until the mainstream media has no credibility at all. Are we already at the point where Russian readers of Pravda were during the Iron Curtain days, having to tease out the real meaning buried between the lines, and having to extrapolate from a few noncommittal accounts of what really happened, was happening, or about to happen? Was there a deliberate intent, in launching the Martin-Zimmerman narrative on the national scene a month after it had happened and been thoroughly covered by the local Florida media? And a good few years ago, I would have considered that kind of thinking to be unnecessarily paranoid, but in light of things like JournoList, I think I can be forgiven for wondering.
And what will be the next ready-manufactured meme be? I was personally betting that it would have something to do with illegal immigration, perhaps some minor ruckus in a border state, involving some pitiably appealing so-called victim, but as of this week it appears as if the powers that be are trying to reanimate the corpse of the ‘Womyn at Augusta National’ controversy.

And if I were doing this as a news story myself, I’d close out by standing in front of a large, important building with a microphone, and saying, “Only time will tell.”

4 thoughts on “Watching the Meme Go By”

  1. It’s quite clear that Obama does not intend to win this election through rational argument about policies, but by systematically triggering the emotions (mainly the negative emotions) of multiple targeted demographics.

  2. It has been noted that there was no event, per se, that catapulted this month-old story from local to national prominence. It just sort of “happened”.

    And it happened right at the very moment that the Sandra Fluke / contraception story began to backfire, and it became clear that whatever leftist juice there was to be had had been squeezed out of it, and there was even a sense that it was now the right that was carrying that story along to their advantage. The very instant that became the case…. boom…. month-old Trayvon Martin story explodes nation-wide.

    I am a militant anti-conspiricist, but, damn it gets difficult sometimes.

  3. Since it’s an election year, I had a feeling some supposed “racial incident” would get played up in the media, so this is no surprise.
    There will probably be at least another between now and November.

    As someone who went to J-school and has worked with journalists, I can’t say how ashamed I am of the media today.

  4. ‘Sometimes ya just gotta stan’ back an’ let them fall on their sword. If ya wanna, afterwards ya can pull out the sword, wipe off the blood an’ ‘splain to them where where they went wrong…”

    No … Straw Men don’t bleed.

    So in Florida you can just kill anyone who gets in your face. A cop wannabe with a 9mm stalks and kills a black kid who was going to the store.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to arm and empower anyone who is not very highly qualified. YMMV, but I doubt it.

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