rage against the metric system: the partisan outrage machine’s performative stupidity

Having apparently ran out of enemies for a night, Fox News decided to battle a new foe during its primetime lineup: the tyranny of the ubiquitous metric system.

yelling at robot

A common refrain about Tucker Carlson, the Klan’s and internet neo-Nazi’s favorite TV host, is that he often looks like a recently thawed relic from the past trying to make sense of a world with sanitation, internet, and airplanes. It may be the perpetually slack jaw, the glazed over, sleepy eyes, the furious repetition of talking points already considered tired fear mongering hysteria back when they were trotted out in the 1950s, or the combination of all of the above, but the man certainly found his niche in railing against modernity. And in his quest to find yet more threats for his audience of paranoid 60-somethings, Carlson decided to take on the metric system and invite conspiracy theorist James Pinero to warn us how America switching to metric would hand a victory to the sinister Globalist Jew World Order cabal.

Obviously, this is insane. The metric system is so dominant because it’s very easy to convert between measurements since it’s just orders of magnitude and prefixes in an easy to follow pattern. Compare just adding a zero to the asinine and arbitrary two-fortnights-and-five-feet-per-gallon-over-a-liquid-yard nightmare used in the United States thanks to real-life Pirates of the Caribbean in the 18th century attacking the wrong ship. (No, seriously.) And this is what Carlson defended from the “utopian, inelegant and creepy” metric system with his trademark stare of enraged befuddlement while Pinero blathered on about Robespierre and the French revolution while pivoting to the evils and elitism of meters instead of the “ancient knowledge” of the imperial system.

But if this bizarre storm in a teacup over the metric system was all there was to it, this would be hardly worth mentioning. No, the really interesting detail is that when you watch the segment itself, the pair seem like they’re trying to stop themselves from cracking up. What they’re saying is stupid. Really stupid. And they know it. They’re not trying to save America from the clutches of the General Secretary of the UN/Pizzagate/Illuminati conspiracy, they’re doing a bit for those in their audience so hopped up on rage and fear that a truly moronic diatribe about the metric system being a product of regicide and globalism sounds like a real threat in what’s left of their minds. It would be almost somewhat forgivable if Carlson and Pinero actually believed in the torrent of bullshit erupting from their mouths, but they clearly don’t.

And this is really the greatest disservice that the populist outrage machine is doing to society and the world at large. By simply preying on their audience’s fears since it’s the only message they’re capable of delivering, they cast every solution to real world problems, no matter how important or incremental as sinister snares set by evildoers, and frame the natural and easily predictable consequences of bad decisions and simplistic policies which amount to little more than wishful thinking larded with polysyllabic words, as the result of the same evildoers in the shadows undermining their infallible populist leaders. The partisan outrage machine doesn’t want solutions. They want their audience to be afraid and easy to manipulate, even if it’s of meters and degrees Celsius, and even if those disseminating this message are very obviously struggling to deliver it with a straight face.

# oddities // conspiracy / fear mongering / partisan pandering

  Show Comments