There are fundamental truths in life. Or maybe they are simply norms observed to keep society functioning. Things like, men do not wear yoga pants, grandma’s don’t ride electric skateboards and the news media does not get its news from facebook and youtube. Sure these things happen from time to time and they are newsworthy when they do, but only because they go against the fundamental truths of our time.
I’ve been on the TV news a couple of times over the past ten years, and a couple of times in the forty years before that. But it is never for anything controversial. I am always more a reflection of how things are, a representation of a functioning society. I don’t hide when they call. I like the attention.
In the Taipei Times, I see an article about a couple of American youtubers that I know. Nathan Rich (the Hotpot King) did a video with all the reasons Taiwan is part of China, so Laowhy86 did a rebuttal video. The biggest English language daily newspaper in the Republic of China picked up the story and goes on to expose the Hotpot King as a convicted felon, an attempt to discredit his reputation and opinion. “You are a druggie, punk. Your status in society is marginal so your opinion does not matter”.
The Taipei Times misses the point. The truth is, neither youtuber’s opinions matter. Controversial opinions by random youtubers are about as important as a disagreement with a total stranger about the importance of Joe Walsh in making the Eagles the most important band of the 70s. (He did). It’s all a diversion, a rabbit hole as significant and consequential as electric skateboard conversion kits, Jordan Peterson’s manifestation of Carl Jung, the back catalogue of Joe Henry, a modest-selling ‘critic’s darling’ with a reputation for pushing the envelope, who writes songs that don’t fit into an easily defined box and is as subversive as a bandana, a banana or a weird haircut.
We learn that we are doing things wrong but we cannot seem to figure out how to do them right.