Most people have heard of the disappearance of the fishing boat named, “Andrea Gail”, whose captain’s last words to the crew were believed to have been, “She’s comin’ on boys, and she’s a comin’ on strong!” Famed writer Sebastian Junger immortalized the story in his book, “The Perfect Storm”. The 1991 Halloween Nor’Easter has been reported to have generated 60 foot waves and 93 MPH winds. It wreaked havoc down the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
The technical term for the type of storm that destroyed the Andrea Gail is extratropical cyclone, however no one is going to buy a book that sounds like an enrichment page in a 7th grade science textbook. It was like hitting the jackpot, when those pages fell within the assigned reading. “Yeah, I’m just gonna go ahead and skip that part.” Don’t lie, we ALL did it. Anyway, Junger decided to go with a title that packed a little more punch, “The Perfect Storm”.
There are three major phenomena that have to combine in order to generate a meteorological event of this magnitude…
- Hot air from a low pressure system.
- Tropical Moisture.
- Cold air from a high pressure system.
When these elements meet up, batten down the hatches matey because shit’s about to get real.
And, oh how real shit has gotten lately, because America is in the grips of history’s most “Perfect Storm”.
The first element needed in order to create an extratropical cyclone is hot air from a low pressure system. I give you, the 24 hour news cycle. A perpetual, low grade expulsion of hot air and bullshit. We’re so immune to these channels playing in the background of our homes, waiting rooms and office buildings that Pennywise the Clown could dance a jig across the screen and we wouldn’t blink. Our brains have been slowly saturated with hot air for over 30 years.
The first of these “news” stations (CNN) was launched in 1980, but the epidemic really didn’t hit full swing until the first Gulf War. After that, these channels began breeding faster than the Duggars trying to add new cast members to their “reality” show. And keep in mind, the Duggar woman literally had her uterus fall out of her vagina, because she had given birth about 12 too many times. FYI, that shit does happen. It’s called a uterine prolapse and it is a FACT that it stars in most of Mike Pence’s sexual fantasies. But anyway, she’s had 19 babies. CNN has had 20.
Yup. There are 21, 24 hour news channels available to people residing in the United States. We’re three stations away from allotting each hour of the day, its own network. If CNN ever had a uterus, that shit fell out sometime in the early 2000’s, and I’m assuming the post-prolapse pile of goo probably resembled Maria Bartiromo sans makeup. However, aside from gross female reproductive system mishaps, the problem with one 24 hour news network (let alone 21) is that there ISN’T THAT MUCH NEWS. Because outside of days like September 11th, nothing in the realm of “current events” is interesting or important enough to fill that much air time. I don’t care how often you run a ticker stating, “Saucy pigeons, demand food from old lady sitting on Central Park bench”, it will never be news.
Also, I don’t care what “cutesy” adjectives you use to describe them, pigeons will always be flying rats.
Two specific things are especially damaging in regard to 24 hour news. The first being, due to the lack of actual news worthy events, in order to maintain viewership EVERYTHING gets blown out of proportion. They will announce “Breaking News”, right before they cut in to tell you that Obama farted in church. If all things are considered superlatives, than NOTHING is an actual superlative. We’re so used to hearing the world is going to end because Hillary Clinton fell down the stairs, that we miss, “Trump campaign was colluding with Russia”. The second especially dangerous factor at play here, is that in order to attract audiences these channels have turned themselves into opinion stations. What happens if Obama’s not gassy that day? They call up a Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham, to drone on about birth certificates or thick glasses. People have spent the last 25 years listening to pundits pontificate on their unsubstantiated and biased “views”, thinking that these are actually sourced and factual news items. After all, it’s not called Fox Opinions or Cable Opinion Network, and these channels are under no obligation to inform their viewers that what they’re hearing isn’t actual news.
Now don’t get me wrong, while all of these stations are inane and unnecessary at times, they are not all created equal. Fox News is basically a balloon full of hot racist farts, that someone is slowly letting the air out of. It’s America’s longest, most bigoted squifter. This isn’t just my personal bias showing. They’ve actually been proven to lie 58% of the time. That’s far more often than any other news network.
The second element needed to create the “perfect storm” is warm moisture. May I present to you the GIANT swampy asshole of humanity, otherwise known as reality television. It’s as though we’ve dredged the river of “Morally Devoid Fame Whores”, to come up with the moistest, muckiest examples of human beings our country has to offer.
Most experts agree that the phenomenon of reality television began with MTV’s “The Real World” in 1992. Since then, we’ve seen financially over extended and overly Botoxed housewives. Psychotic mothers torturing their children in order for them to vicariously fulfill their dreams. Socialites who can only be described as wastes of natural resources. 8,500 talent competitions that have produced, maybe two actually talented stars. Every occupation available to young, white men in Alaska. Gold-diggers. Man whores. Backstabbers. Cut throats. Catty Millennials. Idiots. Evil geniuses. And of course, the Duggars, “19 and Counting”. The Duggars, because… Jesus loves uterine prolapses.
Between the crocodile tears that the Kardashians can somehow manage to squeeze out of their surgically reshaped eyes (personally I don’t even know they open those suckers, with the 80 pounds of makeup they cake on them), and the hot sweat of aging rockstars desperately grasping for one more minute of fame, we’ve released enough salty moisture into our atmosphere that mold is beginning to grow in the arctic.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve shown that nothing you do in the name of “fame” is too despicable. In fact, the worse your behavior the more likely you are to get casted. Talent, inherent worthiness of your message and intellectual honesty do NOT get good ratings. That’s why the most damaging part of this, is the word “reality”. The Real World almost tanked during its first season. This was because it was too “real”. Nothing exciting happened. It was merely 20-somethings discussing real social issues, from their unique perspectives. No one ACTUALLY wants to hear why the young black man feels isolated in a house full of white neo-liberals, during a supposedly “post-racial” era. What they truly desire, is to see someone punch him. Since then, each season has become more salacious and, well, stupid. A pattern that each successive reality show has followed. More drama. More crazy. More nasty. Much like Obama farting in church is now “news”, so too is ridiculously good looking people finding insta-love on television now “reality”.
We’ve normalized vomit inducing behavior and personalities, and now we find ourselves one chupacabra and a cotton mouth away from living in a moist, steaming, swampy ass.
Quick Disclaimer; I will still watch the shit out of some “Dance Moms”. It is my greatest shame.
The final element needed to create a storm worthy of a Sebastian Junger novel is cold air, from a high pressure system. Ladies and gentlemen, here we have social media. And the above is an ACTUAL photo of what happened to Tom from MySpace. The internet is a frigid tundra of obsessive behavior and outright cruelty. We’re constantly under pressure to get clicks, likes, shares, retweets… And when you mix that consistent pressure with relative anonymity and distance, hearts turn cold and angels vomit.
The first recognizable social media site was called, Six Degrees and it debuted in 1997. Next came blogging sites in 1999, then the explosion that began with MySpace. 25 years later and we’re saturated in every format and user experience you can imagine. Yelp. Pinterest. LinkedIn. FaceBook. Twitter. YouTube. Tumblr (I literally don’t even know what the point of Tumblr is, except to maybe pull off spelling a word without an essential vowel). People spend hours each day, checking for notifications and attempting to derive self-worth from posting a duck lipped selfie, that also doesn’t make them look fat.
It doesn’t matter if you have five “friends” or 5,000 followers. The internet is a cold and lonely place that tends to have serious negative effects on users, if it isn’t handled with care. The sheer cruelty that people are able to spew at each other is enough to make a blood thirsty Yeti say, “Fuck, that’s some icy, heartless shit, dude”. And it’s not just the frequency and ease of bullying and harassment, that makes social media an arctic tundra void of humanity. We spend so much time attempting to cultivate our “status” on these sites, that our ACTUAL relationships suffer. In reality, isolation is the result of too much time online. No one has ever said, “Well, our relationship was really strengthened by his obsessive trolling”. Never, in the history of wedding vows have the words, “I first loved you when I realized you felt compelled to check your Twitter notifications every 15 minutes” been uttered.
Social media gives the illusion of acceptance and camaraderie, but its reality is more “March of the Penguins”. And not the cute part where the the daddy penguins all huddle together. More like the part where the baby falls into the water and gets torn apart by the giant, mean as hell seal.
And now that we have smart phones and tablets, these sites come everywhere with us. We are constantly connected, while simultaneously isolated. To the point we lose our collective minds, if we can’t get a full “five bars”. Dude, give it a second to get back from outer space and, no, shaking your phone is not going to send your reply any faster.
I know. I’ve tried that.
So there you have the three necessary elements to create the perfect storm. A crock pot full of gas bags simmering for 24 hours each day. Swampy, moisture radiating off of Snooki and her ilk. The icy tundra of a soulless internet thrown into a pressure cooker and set to high.
Mix these together and let them swirl around in the atmosphere for 30 years. Building off of each other. Feeding each other. Creating a maelstrom of hot anger, cold hearted cruelty and the crusty, dripping mascara runoff from Kardashian tears. Eventually, the storm will form and when it comes you end up with a totalitarian orangutan taint on legs, as your president. The inevitable result of the confluence of hate, ignorance and obsessive ego. The extratropical cyclone of magnificent clusterfuckery. The PERFECT FUCKING STORM. Donald J. Trump, as president.
Trump is the embodiment of these three elements. And not only that, but he’s the common theme that runs through them all. He’s the despotic, orange plastic spoon that stirs them up. He started a reality television show entitled “The Apprentice” in 2004. On a side note, what exactly were they supposed to be learning from him? How to get a splotchy spray tan? I mean, the dude sucks at business. But anyway, he’s made frequent appearances on multiple news networks, even prior to his campaign to be America’s first half way sentient, glob of cold nacho cheese to win the presidency. He can say whatever he likes about the media, but Trump eats up their interest in him with the same vigor he uses to down an over cooked steak smothered in ketchup. And of course, everyone is aware of his social media presence. He didn’t get the name Twittler, because he’s known for his eloquent, yet wordy, hand written letters; that graciously extrapolate on the virtues of his compatriots.
And here we are. The American people, crammed onto the doomed Andrea Gail, but unlike that crew we didn’t even get a warning regarding the shit that was about to go down. Because you know the words, “She’s comin’ on boys, and she’s a comin’ on strong!” have NEVER been uttered by Trump.