The imbeciles of 24-hour cable news have been in a tizzy over the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State, lately, resulting in an all-you-can-eat buffet of delicious, unintentional irony. Whether it’s MSNBC’s token Conservative dick, Joe Scarborough, flatly stating “pot just makes you dumb,” or Gretchen Carlson, the former filling in the Steve Doocy/Brown-Haired Guy Who is Not Steve Doocy Sandwich on Fox, flogging the classic “gateway” theory that claims pot always “leads to more serious drugs”—“Know Your Dope Fiend” clearly continues to be the Right Wing’s guiding drug policy (while I assume Democrats have “moderated” their own message to something more like the Reagan/H.W. Bush Administrations’ calls to “Just Say No”).
I found the reaction of Fox News’ resident Grinch, and self-described falafel-fetishist Bill O’Reilly to be the tastiest. As highlighted on The Daily Show last Tuesday, M.C. “Do It Live” decided to dedicate a portion of the previous evening’s
Two-Minutes Hate O’Reilly Factor to the notion that, “if you use any intoxicating agent, then your goal is to leave reality”… before launching into a bizarre, nonsensical attempt to link marijuana overindulgence to the scourge of “texting addiction,” which, as we speak, grips the nation in its gnarled, carpal tunnel-wracked claws (apparently)!
Forget pot—there must have been quite a few people who wanted to know what O’Reilly was smoking when they heard this logical train-wreck contort its way from his teleprompter to their ears! Perhaps those without TiVo, unable to rewind and verify that he had, indeed, just said that, briefly considered the possibility that someone had dropped acid into their most recently-consumed beverage when they weren’t looking. Perhaps even O’Reilly himself wondered: “Jesus! Did I say that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me?”
One of the first rules of being a pusher is to make sure you don’t become your #1 best customer, and I’m not really sure how much of their own bullshit O’Reilly and his cohorts habitually snort. If you look into the backgrounds of Fox’s talking heads, you’ll find that they aren’t all as mentally-challenged as they might, at first, appear: Gretchen Carlson, for example, has an impressive academic and intellectual background, including a long history as an accomplished violinist.
What I am sure of is that Fox News is itself an addictive, mind-altering substance, used by its most dedicated viewers to escape reality to a paranoid, fantasy world where Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim, simultaneously a Communist and a Nazi, bent on destroying America…
Where Marriage Equality means everyone will soon be forced to marry no fewer than two men, a horse, and a ficus, apiece…
Where taxes on the wealthy are “class warfare,” punishing success, while “entitlements” reward lazy “welfare queens” for “sitting on the couch all day eating bonbons”…
Where Benghazi was THE SINGLE BIGGEST GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY OF ALL-TIME—bigger than 9/11, Watergate, the Kennedy assassination, and the burning of the Reichstag combined…
Where abortion is the same as (or even worse than) murder, because ovums are conscious the moment they leave the Fallopian tube, and should have a greater right-to-life than (black) people on death row—but once that baby is living and breathing outside of a uterus, he’s either a maker or a taker, and goddammit, he better start getting good grades, if he wants to eat!
Where there’s a War on Christmas! Where “Obamacare” is a Socialist scam, threatening the very foundations of the free-market economy! Where slavery, segregation, and apartheid weren’t so bad, Global Warming is disproven every time it gets cold outside, and the years 2001-2009 didn’t happen EXCEPT FOR 9/11 NEVER FORGET!!
…and where a subtle loosening, in a few states, of the prohibition on the sale and distribution of a plant, with a wide variety of proven uses, signals the End Times for so-called “traditional values.” Christian ones, of course, because to Hell with all those other, heathen “religions!”
As you can see, I tried visually representing the idea of “drug-induced reality distortion” by channeling the style of Ralph Steadman, in my above cartoon. Most people know him for his work with the late Hunter S. Thompson, the “gonzo” journalist who wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as numerous other books and articles that purposefully eschewed passive objectivity in order to get at the deeper truths of events, culture, and the American identity.
Thompson’s unconventional approach to reporting has influenced generations of journalists, authors, and late-night comedians, since, as well as many independent bloggers today, who don’t necessarily have to deal with the editorial restrictions of anyone other than themselves, and can therefore be just as free-wheeling in their use of exaggeration, hyperbole, or even wholly-invented fiction.
I imagine someone on Fox News, at least once, has probably tried to defend the network’s right to lie, or employ other methods of dubious value and odious intent, by comparing their activities to Thompson’s celebrated oeuvre, maybe even openly laying claim to the guy, like they’ve done with Martin Luther King, and Jesus Christ.
I mean, he loved guns, right? Say no more: that’s all we need to hear to bestow the title of “Reagan-Loving Conservative” on a dead celebrity who’s no longer around to sue for libel!
Fox’s approach to the news is, at best, more like gonzo journalism’s perverted, evil twin. Instead of using the trappings of fiction to report the truth, Fox uses the trappings of truth to report fiction.
“Bizarro journalism,” you could maybe call it.
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