Virtual Soapbox

            As more strict restrictions take hold in BC, Camp and I decided to meet at either of our humble abodes on the lovely Sunshine Coast, in BC. It was my turn to host and since we’re a pod or a bubble, we don’t have to wear masks in each other’s company. I arrived with a sixpack of Golden Goddess from our local farm craft brewery, Persephone. We decided that each week we’d feature another one of our locally brewed beers for our Thirsty Thursdays, to help the local economy. Clare and I recently also bought a propane firepit which we could sit around on our deck and keep warm, unless it rains of course.

            Camp loved the idea of sitting outside in December. ‘This is the way of the future my friend,’ he said. I bet you, there is a fortune to be made in outdoor heaters and home knit blankets.’

            ‘Maybe I should take up knitting,’ I said. I wanted to talk about a topic that has been bothering me for a while. ‘Camp, why do you think the media – and I mean everybody from CNN to the local radio station – is giving crack pots like Trump the stage and the megaphone so they can blast their lies and nonsense out to the world?’

            ‘Easy buddy. Crackpots and lunatics create audience and audience creates commercial value. Trump is still the president of the US and has 60 million followers who drink out of the same bottle of antifreeze. They make a good target audience for all kinds of goodies, from T-shirts and ball caps to Luxury hotel chains and golf courses.’

            ‘Yeah, I get it,’ I said. ‘I just wish that the media would ignore the incessant noise of negativity and lies and stick to the facts and what furthers good causes and good people. Even newspapers like the Manchester Guardian provide a soapbox for the lunatic fringe.’

            ‘Talking lunatic fringe, did you know that Trudeau’s half-brother, twelve years his junior, is an anti-vaxxer, a conspiracy theorist and a crypto currency crusader. He believes that Justin is part of a global corporatocracy who want to control everybody’s lives and purse strings. Apparently, they have one thing in common.’

            ‘What’s that?’

            ‘They both like the lime light and attention,’ Camp said, finishing his bottle. ‘That’s a pretty good beer, a bit hoppy but definitely enjoyable.’

            ‘It makes me want to turn the news off, cancel all my magazine subscriptions and memberships and retreat into my cave with a good novel and a case of this beer,’ I said.

            ‘I know, we’re all tired of the bullshit and the endless innuendos and it will not stop anytime soon. It’s the internet that gave every crackpot and idiot a platform and an outlet. Make up the craziest stories and theories and you will have a following. There are new religions sprouting up every day on U-tube and Facebook. Qanon is just one of them. The keys to fight this mad trend are a fact based and secular education and science based on empirical principles. Question everything, accept only what makes sense. Those are just two tools to help a discerning open mind filter out the back ground noise in order to hear the real music.’

            ‘Nicely put Camp, but do you think that young people in their twenties and thirties have those same critical filters installed or are they a herd generation following those who shout the loudest and promise the most.’

            ‘I would give the young people credit to be able to separate the chaff from the grain. Also, I think that most people don’t pay a lot of attention to the established news media. They talk, text and interface with each other and get a lot of their information from social media, even more suspect and unreliable than propaganda networks like Fox, or Breitbart,’ Camp said. As the saying goes: The truth is out there. You just have to look for it and find it.’

            ‘I’ll have another bottle please. I know there is truth in beer, you just have to drink it.’ 

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