Rated PG-13 for frankness
You may be familiar with the term “Eight hundred pound Gorilla in the room” used as a simile. Maybe not, literacy is rapidly decreasing, and common phrases are often mangled beyond recognition. I have seen the words “It’s not rocket scientist” in writing, making it clear that the writer was indeed not a rocket scientist nor capable of rocket science, or even forming a grammatically correct sentence.
There is an alternate term about an elephant in the room. If you’ve been in a doctor’s waiting room you no doubt have seen the cover of the latest issue of Time magazine in which they used the simile to represent New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
Time magazine lost most of its credibility when it joined Warner Communications in 1989, subscriptions have dropped steadily since then as it has become a pretentious version of “People“. Vying for readership in waiting rooms across the country with such journalistic titans as “Highlights“, Time has come to depend on striking cover images to attract readers.
Cute, right? The elephant as a symbol of the Republican party, Christie as a poster child for morbid obesity, its all in fun, because of course no one takes Time seriously. Remember this cover?
Of course not. Calling Obama a jackass would be disrespectful. Which brings us back to the gorilla.
How much time do you expect it would take the NAACP to don its hoods and robes and burn every document within Time Warner Communications if Obama was depicted as a gorilla? I seem to remember a fair amount of outrage when the simile was made of Rodney King.
The elephant, gorilla, jackass, or iceberg in the room is the double standards applied to journalistic integrity. In fact, the term “double standards” infers that there are standards, so let’s just cut through the bullshit here. Sycophancy hasn’t been so popular since brown shirts were in vogue.
Do not mistake the object of my disgust as being its propagators. When a society accepts, endorses, and makes profitable the unrelenting hypocrisy which twists the mores they claim to uphold into apologies for the willful disregard of basic human decency, that society is no longer a consumer of such trash, it is the manufacturer.
I present to you this example. Are you able to laugh at yourself?
There is a satirical news program, “The Daily Show“. The host, John Stewart, pokes holes in the rhetoric of groups all over the political spectrum. It is the one program I can laugh about every night. Segments of the program are routinely held up by the side that was not satirized. They routinely miss the point that both sides were satirized, seeing only what they want to see.
When “The Daily Show” covered the topic of this Time magazine cover, the story started with poking fun at Christie, displaying an “alternate cover” with the words “The elephant in the room” replaced with the words “The Fat Fuck in the room”. I’m willing to bet Christie found that hilarious, I certainly did. As the story progressed, Stewart delved into the disingenuous explanation by Time editors, claiming that the headline wasn’t insulting because it’s a common expression.Continuing with the editor’s logic, Stewart presented a cover of Time magazine showing a pile of dog feces, with the headline “Time is a steaming pile of shit”, saying “see, it’s just a common expression, I don’t really mean anything by it”. Equally hilarious.
People who chose to hold up only one of those “alternate covers” as some sort of evidence of their views being supported by “The Daily Show” miss the point. Yes, Chris Christie is overweight, but that has no more to do with his ability to govern than the color of his skin. Yes, Time magazine is a parody of a once great publication, but they are in no way unique.
If we cannot discuss our differences without being insulted or insulting each other, we will just remain different and insulted. If you can’t support your opinion, it really isn’t your opinion then, is it? So don’t be a jackass, ignorance is nothing to be proud of.