The Brits have a term for this time of year; they call it the silly season, when the news media devote themselves even more than usually to frivolous stories and people indulge in outlandish behavior. I don’t know why—sunspots, global warming, continental drift?—but this summer has been even sillier than usual in the United States.** Consider:
*A poll shows that about a fifth of the populace imagines that the president of the United States is a Muslim.
*Something called Demand Media has filed for an initial public offering. Demand publishes eHow, which pays freelancers a penny a word for some remarkably stupid articles, such as “How to Calculate Age from Birthdate.”
*Some Republicans have called for repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment—you know, the one the Republicans pushed through in 1868 to guarantee civil rights.
*An English professor pitched a fit in a Starbucks in Manhattan over a barista’s asking her if she wanted butter or cheese on a bagel. This was happening about the time that JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became some kind of folk hero for a public outburst of bad behavior.
*The governor of Arizona, without troubling to offer anything that might look like, you know, evidence, asserts that most illegal immigrants in her state are “drug mules.”
*The Orange County Register intends to publish photographs of its reporters with their stories. There are a number of reasons that print reporters did not go into television, and I’ll let you guess what one of them is.
*Andy Schlafly of Conservapedia and the Eagle Forum recently described Einstein’s theory as “heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.” Even I, without benefit of a class in physics, knew forty years ago that conflating relativity with moral relativism was a vulgar error.
*On Sunday, Keeping Up With the Kardashians will begin its fifth season.
**No, this is not a lead-in to another post about the proposed Islamic center in Manhattan, though getting a rise out of people who would like to see bigotry legitimized has its pleasures.