They know you're addicted, so they feed your habit. Their product is "How Trump Ruined The World Today," and if Trump didn't happen to do anything that day, they have to make it up.
The New Yorker
"Here is a worst possible outcome of a scenario that has yet to happen but could ... maybe ... it depends ..."
So in addition to the damage to your mental health and likely descent into nihilistic political apathy, there's the corruption of your Bullshit Detector. You will judge the value of stories not on whether they are true, but on whether they feed your addiction. Hell, how many of you reacted to the stories I linked above with something like "Well, that may not have happened, but lots of similar incidents probably did." You need the worst to be true. Nuance isn't going to get anybody high.
Well, after my railing against alarmism, let me be a little alarmist myself:
This is new.
The citizens of previous democracies did not have one tiny fraction of the information streams slamming into their brains. They didn't have smartphones they checked every 20 seconds in a desperate attempt to feel something. I personally believe that a certain percentage of Trump voters went with him just to see what would happen, to "shake things up" not in the political sense, but in the entertainment sense. Because, in other words, they were bored. "Did you hear the shit about how we should use our nukes? This dude's crazy as hell! If nothing else, you know he'll be entertaining!"
There is no playbook for managing this kind of sustained information overload because it has literally never happened before, ever. I, personally, don't think our brains are built to handle it. I think there is evidence that the need for constantly escalating stimulation is a sickness, one we're all vulnerable to.
And that should terrif- ah, fuck it.
David Wong is the Executive Editor at Cracked and his new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, iBooks and Kobo. It's the next book in the NYT bestselling John Dies at the End series! Finally!
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