Saturday, January 28, 2012

Buffett Secretary Meme, The Shallows

Warren Buffett: Shut up, he explained | Power Line:

I've written enough about this, my point here is just to point out one reason why we have so much division in the US today, we have just seen the creation of a new Meme -- "Buffet's Secretary".

The left / MSM listeners / Democrats etc will see it as some version of the following depending on their memory, friends, degree of paying attention, etc:

"Buffett's secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does".

"Buffett's secretary pays more taxes than he does"

If someone that has dug into a bit more tries to have a reasoned discussion on the topic, they will respond with something like:

"Well, I don't see why he would lie about it".

"You must listen to Fox News too much!"

"It was all over, I didn't hear anything about the stuff you are saying ..."

or basically, as the title of the linked article says,  "Shut Up".

This has now entered the mind of the American voting public as a bunch of interlinked "factoids" have, most of which have only emotional and often very close to 100% incorrect content of any sort.

Some examples:

  • "Bush lied" -- forget "about what"? In the known definition of "lying" he didn't lie about WMD, yellowcake, Valerie Plame, or anything else commonly attributed ... but the meme has stuck. He may have been wrong about WMD (even that is questionable).
  • "Death Panels" -- the true origin is long lost. This started on the right, probably in the Tea Party, now it is just "a complete fabrication" from the left, and "a hyperbolic euphemism for healthcare rationing" from the right.
  • "Tea Party" --  there really isn't much of an organization. It could be people opposed to runaway government of most sorts -- spending and BOcare in particular, but in general it is "bad, stupid, racist" from the left, "mostly good, maybe a little carried away conservative" from the right.
  • "The 1%" -- From the left, a symbol of Wall Street, Corporations, The Koch Bros (or wealthy devil of the day) ... all manner of financial evil, greed, malfeasance and corruption. THE ENEMY in the 2012 campaign of Class Warfare. From the right, the level of income that they would like to achieve someday.
One could go on forever, but the bottom line is that in this time of massive info overload, our information delivery systems have actually been reduced to delivering "only the tag cloud" with next to no content behind them -- but more importantly, essentially 180 degree different content depending on your "political tribe". Is it any wonder that nothing even approaching discussion or debate happens anymore??

Like most things, there is a whole book "The Shallows" that covers this general phenomenon as it relates to the Internet.

No time for true content, depth, nuance, honest emotion, thought, context ... just a raw emotional "meme/tag", then silence.

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