Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Thirst or Consequences
U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech last night. At one point, he leans over, grabs a small plastic water bottle, takes a rapid swig and, all while maintaining eye contact with the camera, sets the bottle aside.
A mundane, insignificant act.
He was parched after talking and needed to quench his thirst. Pause. Drink. Resume.
But in a world where social media is king and awkwardness is punished, Rubio's sip became the talk of the Internet.
Rubio later commented on the incident - I decline to call it a gaffe because it wasn't a mistake - on ABC's Good Morning America, "God has a funny way of reminding us we're human."
God also has a funny way of reminding us a legion of partisan 12-year olds control the media.
Look, I'm not defending Rubio's positions. He's vehemently anti-abortion, voted against funding stem cell research, wants to repeal Obamacare and favors returning control to health care to the states, opposed repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, favors more oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, opposed the Violence Against Women Act and is hankering for war with Iran.
He's every Tea Party curmudgeon in a younger, handsomer form.
Rubio is a far right-wing ideologue who doesn't even want to compromise with moderate Republicans, much less Democrats.
But the guy takes one sip of water and people crucify him. They call it bumbling and ridiculous. They start Internet memes and create Facebook pages devoted to Rubio's water bottle. Even the talking heads on 24-hour cable news networks get involved, presumably because there are no other stories to report.
I recently had a conversation with someone who worked as a reporter in the 1970s, the golden age of journalism. She told me the smartest thing for budding reporters to do is not to major in journalism but marketing or public relations and take journalism as a minor. Have a job you can make a living with and then write on the side.
In the last few years I've seen the quality of journalism shrink dramatically. Good reporting is almost nonexistent. We're a nation of corporate pundits, partisan prattlers and catchphrase-spitting monkeys. The Internet is a bastion of hackneyed comedians, political minions and sub-literate idiots who vomit shit and bile into the ether for all to view.
Rubio's sip has grown into a monstrous shit demon spewing diarrhea tsunamis across the globe.
This juvenile sense of mocking, of ridiculing the slightest awkward action has made everyone schoolyard bullies. We pick on the high and mighty because it gives our own crappy lives a sense of power and validation.
Most of the people ridiculing Rubio for being thirsty - gasp! - are Democrats.
The next time President Obama gives an address or press conference and news cameras are there, I wish POTUS would emit a long, sloppy, wet fart. The flatulence will be loud and audible and sound like it came from the buttcheeks of a 300-pound truck driver named Earl who subsisted on a diet of beer and corned beef hash. I want Obama to fart for about 25 to 30 seconds, a continual blast of methane from the leader of the free world. Then, after finishing, he stares at the cameras for another 10 seconds, and resumes his speech.
If only this would happen, maybe Rubio's mangled attempt to satisfy his thirst by imbibing bottled water could be overlooked as the trivial event it was.
Yet in the land of the Internet troglodytes and lazy newsrooms, they're riding the cresting waves of feces, hoping to take someone famous down a few notches.
All for ratings or a few laughs.