I’m at the car dealership in the waiting room. The TV is on a game show.
A guy walks in. He’s in his late ’50’s. He’s carrying two books. One of them is the Bible. The other has Glenn Beck’s name on it. While others are actively engaged in the game show, he picks up the remote and changes the TV to Fox News.
Nobody says anything.
I say, "Excuse me. I’d prefer to watch anything other than that. I don’t mind what you change it to, but I’d prefer not to be stuck here for two hours watching Fox News if you don’t mind."
He ignores me and puts the remote on his lap.
I’ve been watching Fox News. I’ve been making notes. This is what I learned.
First, Fox News is far worse than all reports I’ve heard.
In two hours, I documented twelve "commercials" that were politically specific. They included Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and others urging the audience to take political action against Democrats and Obama. Obama was mentioned by name in every commercial. These were "commercials." Not political messages but "commercials."
Every commercial break ran a commercial about buying gold. Not multiple commercials, but the same commercial over and over again. With a commercial break every six minutes, that means ten commercials per hour. Twenty times in two hours. The gold commercial included language that warned the economy was "in peril" and could collapse "any day now."
I saw Fox News commentators trying to find a way to blame Democrats for the disaster in Japan. (I also heard them continually refer to it as "a tragedy." It isn’t a tragedy. It’s a disaster.) They also raised questions as to why Obama’s administration has not yet updated our own nuclear reactors. I tried counting the number of times commentators–not guests, but commentators–mispronounced "nuclear."
More on Japan: they used this disaster to justify more oil drilling to avoid "the same kind of disaster."
I’d like someone on Fox News to show me where the US has built a nuclear power plant on a fault line.
They also said that "After the BP disaster, the Obama administration tried to politicize the oil issue." Yeah. Because my memory of that was Democrats shouting, "DRILL BABY DRILL!"
Fox News folks also questioned, "While our own economy is in ruins, is it wise for Obama to send precious resources to Japan?"
Three people nodded silently–including the Glenn Beck fan–when the commentator said this. Having enough of this nonsense, I asked, in a very loud voice…
"WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?"
The Glenn Beck fan called me rude.
I told him, "You were the one who changed the channel without asking anyone’s permission. And when someone asked you if we could watch someone else, you put the fucking remote on your fucking lap, asshole. So fuck you with your ‘rude’ bullshit."
I then quoted FDR: "When your neighbor’s house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of your water hose."
Now, pardon me for a moment because I’m going to apparently go off topic. I’m not. I’m trying to illustrate a point.
At Neoncon this year, I had a conversation with a few folks who were once employees at WotC about the RPGA. They insisted to me that the RPGA was not a good way to judge the average D&D player base. I’ve heard White Wolf say the same thing about The Camarilla. "The Camarilla is not indicative of the typical White Wolf player."
The WotC people told me the same thing. "The RPGA is not representative of the typical D&D player."
My counter to that is simple.
YOU are not the typical player.
Both of these groups are the official player base for your game. When folks want to play D&D or WoD, they seek out the official organization of that game.
By definition, they are the representational player base of your game.
And, by analogy, I’d like to make this argument…
(BTW, I am not a Democrat. I’m not a Liberal. Don’t even think about painting me with that epithet.)
Many of my friends call themselves "Republicans." I’m talking to you right now.
You are are reasonable, intelligent folks. I respect and admire you. I enjoy our debates and learn something when we talk about disagreement. I even change my mind sometimes. And, I hope, I make you question your own assumptions.
But you are not the Republican base. You are not representative of the "typical player." You are not the guy with the Bible in one hand and the Glenn Beck book in the other. You are not sitting in front of Fox News, brainwashing yourself to hate anyone who disagrees with you. You are not buying the lies being pumped into these people’s heads. You are not buying the propaganda.
You are not the problem.
The problem is the base.
And "the base" is stealing your message.
I agree with a smaller, more efficient government. I agree with getting rid of government waste. I agree with protecting citizen’s rights. I agree with all of that.
These people don’t even understand what I just typed.
"The Republican base" scares the fuck out of me.
They don’t want to think. They don’t want to listen. They want to be told what to think. And they believe you only need to read one book to understand the world around us.
Two hours with Fox News taught me this.
I thought I was mad two days ago. I was wrong.
Now… I’m fucking mad.