Monday, May 14, 2007

Less Than Tolerant

One of the reasons I like my slightly deranged friend - the one who wasn't attacked by squirrels, despite my worst fears - so much (apart from the obvious facts that she is both beautiful and intelligent), is that on some issues she is even less tolerant than I am. Phone-ins, for instance. The other night in the pub, she got onto the subject of breakfast TV and the way it is becoming dominated by phone-ins. You know the sort of thing, there's an item on obesity in children, they've got five minutes to fill before the regional weather, so they invite bigots to call in and spill their bile on the subject. Now, I generally don't watch breakfast TV, therefore I was unaware of this phenomenon, so it shocked me to find that the creeping scourge of phone-ins had made the evolutionary leap from local radio to national TV. A bit like bird flu jumping between species. Anyway, getting back to the point, my friend's rant on the subject set me to thinking about how best we can combat this growing menace (phone-ins, not bird flu).

I was forced to conclude that an extension of the principle of intolerance would be the best weapon. Let me elaborate. Most of the people who participate in phone-ins are intolerant, stupid bigots. Intelligent callers who try to intervene with reasoned argument and balanced views are either kept off the air altogether, or shouted down by the bigots - thrown to the dogs, if you will, by the hosts. They are inevitably reviled and ridiculed as 'bleeding heart liberals' and the like. Clearly, reason will not work. No, the answer is for us liberals to phone in and be unreasonable. We need to be as rude and obnoxious as the bigots. Forget logic, just spew liberal bile at them. Call them racists. Call them idiots. Shout them down. Make up 'facts' to refute their 'arguments'. Slowly but surely, we must come to dominate these phone-ins and force out the bigots. Only then can we start to use them as a forum for reasonable debate. Ultimately, that's our biggest problem - we try to be reasonable. We assume that these people are capable of understanding logical arguments. They aren't. If they were, they wouldn't hold such reprehensible views. So, just scream at them. Indeed, I see that at least one member of the media has decided to adopt this approach - a reporter for the BBC's Panorama has drawn some criticism for his screaming rant against a Scientologist he was interviewing. Personally, I commend his actions. Give the bastards a taste of their own medicine. See how they like having someone else's reactionary views shoved down their throats.

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