And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. – Matthew 8:25-26
The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting story on a Sarah Palin facebook impostor and the friends he made that illustrates better than most the true extent of the mindlessness of your standard political true believer, in this case illustrated by the Teabagging set. The concepts at play in the story probably also explain why the number 1 institution that suffers embezzlement are churches.
Blind faith may be a comfort when it comes to pondering our fates, place in this universe and infinity. It is next to useless where crictical thought is appropriate. And yes I expect this post to kick teabagging defense mechanisms into overdrive. Critical thinking, after all, requires first and foremost the submission of our egos to reality.
Was it easy for a Los Angeles screenwriter to pass himself off on Facebook as Sarah Palin? You betcha, it was.
In mid-June of this year, Alex Grossman – a former film executive who has since written and directed commercials and short films that appear on sites like funnyordie.com — began to work on a screenplay.
“I was messing around with the theme of those who put ‘faith over fact’ in this country,” Grossman said. “I started thinking about Sarah Palin and her following: ‘What would it be like to be her? What are these people like? And do they really know her?’”
Under the guise of research, he decided to attempt to pass himself off as Palin on Facebook. He tried every variation on Palin’s name he could think of. To his surprise, he was able to claim the Facebook name “Governor Palin.”
“I thought, ‘What better way to see what makes her tick than to be her for a bit?’” he said.
Using a photo of Palin sitting in a car with her seatbelt on and writing a message that read, “Happy 4th of July and God Bless!?!”, Grossman posted his page. Almost instantly, he found himself with about 100 requests from people wanting to be his – uh, Governor Palin’s – friend. He accepted them all. Updating the page almost every day, Grossman said he most often posted earnest messages about Palin’s love of God and country. But on occasion, he wrote posts he intended to be overtly satirical, so as to “tip my hat to those that I thought knew better,” he explained.
He posted messages like, “I need a salmon recipe for tonight. Todd just brought home a fresh one. Something spicy!” (Dozens of “friends” sent recipes in response.) Another update read, “GOD LOVES US ALL, no matter how black or African, or even gay or Jewish we are.” He though for sure people would catch on when he, as Palin, became a fan of Strunk & White.
A few people posted to the page saying that they didn’t believe Palin was actually in control. But their publicly-aired doubts didn’t convince the vast majority of the followers.
Grossman’s project really took off after Palin announced she was resigning her post as governor of Alaska. Within a week after her announcement, the friend-count rose to over 600. The followers were almost unanimously supportive of Palin’s resignation. One woman wrote to Grossman-as-Palin: “Sarah, You are the brightest star I’ve seen in government in decades. I met ‘Joe the Plumber’ … and could see BOTH of you in high office….Please let me know where I can send a donation.” Grossman replied, “No need to send money, just prayers. Jesus is with me, doll, and I’m gonna be just FINE.”
I’ve been on the finance boards long enough to have experienced both ends of what the story covers next. Suffice it to say I know how Mr Grossman felt as we continue the story:
Grossman admitted that he sometimes felt guilty for deceiving people. One woman wrote that she had a sick child and she asked that “Sarah” pray for him. “I felt terrible,” Grossman said. “It went into an area I wasn’t prepared for.” He didn’t respond to the woman.
Toward the end of July, Grossman found himself facing a few more skeptics. Grossman believed he was able to quell their doubts by making religious references. “As long as I wrote ‘HE IS ON OUR SIDE,’ in all caps, they seemed willing to ignore some of the obvious signs,” Grossman said.
Or so Grossman thought. On August 9, Grossman tried to sign on to the site but was denied with an “Account Has Been Disabled” message. Many of his “friends” have emailed him (Palin) — at [email protected], the address he had posted on the Facebook tab listing Palin’s purported contact — inquiring about the vanished page.
Poor Sid Salter, the sloganeering sounds good to the public in one of the last bastions of the 30 percenters that is Mississippi but the mindless shout downs to which these congressional town hall meetings have degenerated insures many more years in the wilderness for the lost right wing. Ignorance never sets good public policy but that still doesn’t stop the “true believers” from trying.