Please Ignore the Attention Whores

This man feeds on your attention. Don’t give it to him.

I’m feeling cranky. First, Geraldo unleashed an appalling nude selfie on the Twitterverse, and then we got this:

Yeah, I know. You’ve seen it already, and I’m a big fat hypocrite for reproducing it and then complaining about people who reproduce it, but I’m trying to make The Larger Point.

It’s Melissa Harris-Perry, a name I had never heard before she appeared in a video some months back extolling the virtues of confiscating children from their parents and turning them over to a collective for education and upbringing:

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The simmering arrogance of that statement takes the breath away. If you pay very close attention to the clip, you can almost hear the sound of jackboots and smell the stench of the gulag, but with pretty microbraids!

In the picture above she is shown wearing tampon earrings as a protest against the confiscation of feminine hygiene products from women going into Texas State Legislature. Those products were not confiscated because the men were afraid of women or thought they could somehow thwart menstruation or something. Trust me, men think about menstruation as little as humanly possible.

They were confiscated because the protesters were smuggling in large quantities of them–along with jars full of urine and excrement–to throw at legislators in order to disrupt the democratic process. This was all in an effort to prevent abortion clinics from having to meet the same health and regulatory requirements as your run-of-the-mill ambulatory clinic. So, next time some pro-abort troll gives you their standard line about “safe, legal, and rare,” remind them that they fought for the right to make sure every Texas abortuary was safe … to be another Kermit Gosnell house of horrors.

And let’s pause for a moment to ponder the mentality of women who would crap in jars, stick it in their purses, and attempt to smuggle them into a historic building and seat of democracy in order to throw it upon another human being in order to thwart the vote of duly elected officials. There’s the abortion movement in a nutshell for you.

You know: the mentality that gives kids signs like this:

Okay, so the troll Harris-Petty dons tampon earrings in some sort of “protest” against this and in support of unlimited, unsanitary abortion-on-demand. Normally, when a little girl sticks tampons in her ears in a public place, she gets sent to the principal’s office and kept after school. MSNBC gives her a TV show.

High school kids often do weird and pointless stunts like this to gain attention. I once slipped into the upstairs hallway in my high-school and put condoms over all the doorknobs. My excuse is that I was 14 and an idiot looking to shock. Harris-Perry taught at Princeton for several years. She has no excuse.

Except, it worked: everyone wound up doing exactly as she wanted. This was the action of someone saying, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I’M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE! I’M MAKING A SOME POINT ABOUT SOMETHING [details to be filled in later.]”

It’s simply attention whoring. In the internet age, it’s link-bait. It’s a ready-made thought virus, sure to be shared by supporters (“Yay Melissa! You did … something!”) and foes (“Just LOOK at this ignorant tool!”) There is no downside to this kind of low-class behavior for either side: supporters get the thrill of shock, and foes get the thrill of outrage. And now I’ve heard about Melissa Harris-Perry twice instead of once.

Everyone wins … except the culture, which dies the death of a thousand little cuts that makes us more vulgar, less human.

We have rewarded her. I don’t know why we do this. We don’t need to react, but we do react, just like dogs drooling for the dinner bell. In contrast to what leftists like to think, conservatives are not, in fact, “reactionary.”

No one needs to know what goes on at MSNBC or on Rush Limbaugh or react to the outrage-du-jour. It’s all irrelevant. It vanishes into the ether, leaving only the smell of sizzling ozone as it goes, while we move to the next outrage, becoming complicit in a self-sustaining media-outrage cycle.

These aren’t skirmish in a culture-war with a victory in sight. This is World War I trench combat: a fixed line that wavers and consumes casualties and never moves.

We can rob the attention whores and the media industrial complex of some of their power by simply ignoring it. MSNBC gets more attention from enemies than supporters. We have more readers at Patheos Catholic than Harris-Perry has viewers.

I remember when Shoutin’ Bill Donohue mailed around hundreds of copies of an offensive image of the Blessed Mother in order to gin up outrage at the creator. Hardly anyone had seen the original image. Once Shoutin’ Bill was done, thousands had seen it. If our goal is to protect and defend the image of Mary, how is this a win?

The world is full of wonder, and Melissa Harris-Perry and her juvenile shock tactics or Geraldo and his exhibitionism aren’t worth your time. In a world in which you have not, for example, read this:

…or seen this…

“Golden Light” by John Atkinson Grimshaw

…or watched this …

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…how can you justify spending even 5 seconds of your finite time on this glorious earth paying attention to talking heads hungry for attention to feed their own malignant narcissism?

Just say no.

PS: “Attention whore” is a gender neutral term, but I considered using something else because people will say, “You called her a whore!”

No, I didn’t.  Do note: Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olberman, and Bill O’Reilly are also attention whores. They are all people who desire attention at all costs, and will do anything to gain that attention. Our entire celebrity culture is wall-to-wall with attention whores, male and female.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

    Culturally, in my experience, we Americans have always reveled in the tacky while at the very least also having some form of recognition of it for what it is. If we now earnestly accept the humping pig salt and pepper shakers (or the MSNBC host who wears them as earrings) to be fine art in themselves, then heaven help us all. I mean, we all know the post-modernists won, but whatever happened to ironic detachment?

  • catherine

    Thanks, Tom. This needed to be said, and you said it well. I especially appreciate the “note” at the end. Attention whore-ing is a bipartisan effort, for sure!

  • Heloise1

    I had my tv connection taken out. A small protest. Small because I really don’t miss it at all.

  • Ron Turner

    Uh, no. A person who hosts a TV or radio show is supposed to get people to watch or listen.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    Me too.

  • Andy

    The last paragraph says it all – thanks.

  • Randall

    This is the first blog I’ve read on Patheos that I felt compelled to comment on: what complete drivel. Harris-Perry and Geraldo may have pushed the envelope too far, but “jack boots and the smell of the gulag”? You have a 2 x 4 in your own eye, pal.

  • Really?

    Your entire paragraph about what happened in Texas is inaccurate. You are repeating discredited information as well as exaggerating it. Sort of ironic in a rant about trying to call attention to yourself.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    No, it has not been debunked. The one letter from a Democratic pol refuting the DPS statement of the presence of feces and urine (or the eyewitness testimony to the same) is not a “debunking.” I know pro-aborts love their magical thinking (“it’s not really a baby unless you think it’s a baby!”) but wishing does not make something so.

  • Frank

    amen!


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