Presidential Candidates Are Trying to Go Viral and It's Getting Weird
The Internet is a different beast altogether, and instead of catering to the interest of journalists, candidates can/must appeal to the masses.
Presidential candidates have always said incendiary things to get the media's attention. Some, like Abraham Lincoln, actually owned newspapers. Don't be surprised, however, if news outlets aren't ready to discuss their history as rumor mills and propaganda machines for the rich and politically connected.
But the Internet is a different beast altogether, and instead of catering to the interest of journalists, candidates can/must appeal to the masses. And what do we want in ceaseless quantities? Entertainment! Here's just an example from the last week or so:
Lots of political commentary gets coverage, but only bombast and weirdness go viral.
Democratic candidate Martin O'Malley's recent claim that climate change hastened the rise of ISIS, falls somewhere in the middle. It's a shocking claim that neither addresses the core of ISIS or climate change, but cannot be denied as entirely baseless.
The Pentagon has already said that climate change is a "threat multiplier" in that it creates conditions, like droughts and food shortages, that make poverty and the rise of extremism and violence more likely.
One wonders how atomized political discussions that center on a singular event, such as a video montage of cellphone or tax code destruction, can ever create the kind of shared experience necessary for transcendent political discussion.
On the other hand, if politics becomes more entertaining, and gets more (young) people talking about who they would or wouldn't vote for, maybe they'll actually vote. That would be a good start.
Photo credit: Washington Post/Getty Images
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.
- Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
- This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
- The treatment could soon be available to the public.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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