At Hot Air, Stacy McCain writes, there’s nothing “quite so annoying as fake victimhood”:
Overprivileged people trying to elicit sympathy in the Oprah Age by claiming they are victimized by something that doesn’t actually harm them at all. And if you take the liberal MSM seriously, you have to believe that the entire world is being victimized by conservatives:
- NFL football players victimized by Rush Limbaugh? Yeah, cry me a river, Mr. Millionaire Athlete.
- Charisse Carney-Nunes victimized by Michelle Malkin? You’re breaking my heart, Ms. Best-Selling Children’s Author.
- Maureen Dowd victimized by Liz Cheney? I pity you, Ms. Once-Dated-Michael-Douglas.
The key to this kind of nonsense is the liberal MSM’s willingness to exaggerate both the potential menace of conservatives and the helplessness of their victims. Beyond the transparent political bias involved, this phenomenon damages society in three ways:
- It invites weak-minded people to join the Self-Pity Parade. Throughout the 1980s, the media pounded home the message that “Reaganomics” was devastating the poor, who were portrayed as helpless victims of trickle-down policies that only benefited rich Wall Street fat cats. If poor people believed that message, why should they even bother trying to improve their lives? Fortunately, many poor people were smart enough to ignore the media’s doom-and-gloom propaganda, and some of them are now the “top 5 percent” whom Democrats plan to tax to pay for everything.
- Fake dangers distract us from the real thing. While the media is out chasing phantoms — global warming, the Cheeseburger Menace, the scary people of South Carolina — people are dying every day in car accidents and innocent kids are being gunned down by drug gangsters. And, oh, by the way, al-Qaeda is still in the business of scheming up ways to kill Americans. But if you believe what you see in the MSM, the looming threat is that Rush Limbaugh might buy an NFL franchise.
- Phony victimhood devalues the experience of actual victims. There are today — right now, this very minute — thousands people whose lives have been affected by death, disease and other tragedies. Their daughter is suffering from leukemia, or their son has been wounded in Afghanistan, or their spouse has been killed in a highway accident. They turn on the TV and what do they see? Sob stories about Jessica Simpson’s missing maltipoo, Khloe Kardashian’s pre-nuptial agreement, and the latest on Jon and Kate. Really. Those are the kinds of “victims” the media genuinely care about: Celebrities who are good for ratings.
And the celebrities themselves are happy to play victim themselves. As I’ve noted before, in March of 2008, Billy Joel inducted John Cougar Mellencamp into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During his induction speech for Mellencamp, Joel said:
“Don’t let this club membership change you, John. Stay ornery, stay mean. We need you to be pissed off, and restless, because no matter what they tell us – we know, this country is going to hell in a handcart. This country’s been hijacked. You know it and I know it. People are worried. People are scared, and people are angry. People need to hear a voice like yours that’s out there to echo the discontent that’s out there in the heartland. They need to hear stories about it. [Audience applauds] They need to hear stories about frustration, alienation and desperation. They need to know that somewhere out there somebody feels the way that they do, in the small towns and in the big cities. They need to hear it. And it doesn’t matter if they hear it on a jukebox, in the local gin mill, or in a goddamn truck commercial, because they ain’t gonna hear it on the radio anymore. They don’t care how they hear it, as long as they hear it good and loud and clear the way you’ve always been saying it all along. You’re right, John, this is still our country and we’ll always be victims of powerful people.”
No matter how big the football stadiums we play, the amount of records we sell, or the size of our net worths.
Fortunately, there’s a new counterculture to take the place of the corporate establishment.