2007, Politics, Society, TV

The Daily Show, Conservapedia

A friend of my once mentioned that he didn’t like the¬†Daily Show that much because it was too “left wing.” To call the Daily Show left wing is to buy in to the US bullshit about “right-left.” This supposed distinction (which isn’t much of one at all), makes these terms virtually meaningless except as applies to differences between Republicans and Democrats. The terms change their meaning as the parties change, and anything that is outside of American politics can no longer be accurately¬†classified.

But I digress, my real intention was to point out that The 1/2 hour news hour on Fox apparently exists because they needed right-tilting satire. I gotta say a few things. For one, I do not believe that The Daily Show is so radical and so left. I think, also, that they are hard on Democrats, as well. (Though maybe not as hard, that is debatable.) But, the real object of this show was apparently to not focus on bashing Bush. But this has to be the purpose of satire in the US right now, as far as I can see it. To believe that this US administration should not be targeted by satire is not to be “right wing” but rather to be a lunatic. It shouldn’t be a matter of partisan politics any more.

I watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and I enjoy both of them (especially the latter) though I may not always completely agree exactly with their points of view. (Ditto the oft-ignored, by the mainstream anyway, South Park.) However, I do not, as a result of this, claim to be “left wing” and, if I were an American citizen (rather than just the son of an ex-pat) I would not, as a result of these programs, vote Democrat. However, from the little bit I’ve heard of this new program, it sounds like they are slightly more partisan than the shows they are supposedly counterbalancing.

But this is not really a sign of the apocalypse, the real sign is the following:

Conservapedia “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia.” As pointed out by Lewis Black the other day, ‘conservatives’ in the US – I still hate using that term for them – have decided that wikipedia has a left-wing bias. This is such an absurd idea, so beyond anything I can really understand, or empathize with, that I am at a loss for words. Wikipedia has a major problem. That problem has been pointed out. It is essentially this: 6 billion people can be wrong. The problem of an encyclopedia that is so ‘egalitarian’ is that the truth, or at least quality, could get lost due to a lack of authorities. But this is something that can effect any part of the project, and in no way entails an overall bias (no one group can control all the articles, for example). Additionally, the purpose of it (and its goal) is good enough that we can perhaps forgive this fault.

But this new thing is equivalent to the bizarre ‘Intelligent Design’ debacle when ‘conservatives’ allege that evolution and ID were somehow on par with each other. The notion that an encyclopedia that attempts to make every article ‘neutral’ – that is to say descriptive rather than editorial / pejorative  in its guidelines but also by allowing everyone to contribute, and that means everybody, not just people who don’t swear and believe in Jesus – is dominated by a ‘liberal’ – another word that American politics distorts out of its meaning – or ‘left-wing’ editorship is so stupid, and so hilarious, that if I weren’t worried about the effects of this propaganda, I would laugh my ass off – which is possibly the only conceivable reaction anyway – until I cried.

But I worry that the lunatics of the US are taking this shit seriously. There are people, no doubt, who think that wikipedia is somehow part of a massive plot to destroy god’s creation, or some bullshit like that.
People need to monitor, criticize, and participate in and encourage rigour with regard to wikipedia because it is open to everyone (and most of us are not experts on most things), not because it is “left-wing.” Establishing a counter-encyclopedia with ‘commandments’ (rather than a policy of neutrality) doesn’t do this, rather it speaks to the fact that there aren’t enough ‘conservatives’ out there to corrupt wikipedia, something that I find encouraging.

Still, it definitely strikes me as a sign of the Apocalypse. I mean, if it didn’t actually exist I would find the idea preposterous.

Check this out: “Ted Kennedy’s immigration bill in the United States trounced again today by 14 votes: it’s too liberal even for newly elected Democrats!” If this doesn’t have the quality of an encyclopedia entry, clearly nothing has…

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