Ashton Kutcher capitalized on a media trick that has been tried and mastered for years. It’s called a prank. I know, there’s nothing new here. What he managed to do was put some creative packaging on it and catch most of it on camera. He called it punking. The local radio boys have something similar they call the birthday scam. The idea is to act like you are someone you are not and get the poor victim riled up over nothing. Surprise!
Watching the collective campaigns from the GOP during this election cycle is a lesson in punking. The problem with practical jokes is that they have to be more elaborate and more extreme than the last one. So, our politicians (or fake politicians) make statements that seem outlandish. When they don’t elicit an extreme response then they only jump out and make a statement more extreme until they get the response they are looking for.
I’ve said it before to friends, but I think the endgame for Donald Trump will be the moment when the crowd gasps in horror. Then, he will drop the mic and announce that we have all been punked. Unfortunately, he has experienced so much success that others are joining in the act. Let’s consider the following:
- The aforementioned Trump suggested “marking” Islamic citizens so that we could keep track of them. One could imagine that if they struggle in school to focus then perhaps they could be sent to a “concentration” camp. Heck, we could relocate them specific locations where they could work and live in humble housing. Certainly, no one has ever tried this before.
- Ben Carson says that the pyramids were not used as elaborate structures to bury the pharaohs, but were built by Joseph in the Bible to store grain. That wasn’t commentary added there folks. It comes straight from the horse’s mouth to you.
- The shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood by a Pro Life activist was the fault of liberals. I’m not sure what to add here either.
- Someone in the Republican Party in Minnesota apparently believes we have a #NegroProblem. They were fired.
Free speech is a sacred right in our country, but inflammatory and downright stupid rhetoric has its costs. I am not in favor of censorship in most instances. The Minnesota situation is a perfect example of the ills of censorship. Political correctness has stifled free expression to the point where that thinking has been banished to locker rooms and private parties. Let it out in the open and we know exactly what some people are thinking. This allows the public to judge for themselves.
This is officially my birthday. When you get to a certain age you stop asking for elaborate stuff. After all, I have everything I need and some stuff I don’t need. I ask for something simple. I won’t ask for people to stop saying stupid things. It provides us with some entertainment and it’s completely free. I ask for two things: first, if someone (particularly someone running for office) says something stupid try to remember it. They will try to say they were taken out of context or that they were misquoted. Sure they were. Secondly, I ask that the press continues to hammer at them. When you can have twelve Republicans and zero Democrats on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows then it’s time to retire the silly “liberal mainstream media” label. Facts do not have a liberal bias. Asking someone about something they’ve said or written is not biased. Heck, I’ve written and said many a dumb thing over the years and I don’t like being challenged, but it’s a part of the free exchange of ideas.