More Manufactured Authority

« June 2011 »

Memo to Michael Jungbauer: SEE, THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

I think, maybe, it's going to be the Internet that kills us all.

Which is a shame, because I really, really like the Internet. It tells me who actors are, it sends me lawn mowers, and sometimes it even gives me money. But the Internet has also given a tremendous amount of power to stupidity. Because in many ways, the Internet is a global version of Liberty University, only with a lot more naked titties on it.

I've discussed this before, but the biggest problem of the Information Age is that it allows you to find someone, somewhere, who's saying what you want to believe. That person then becomes a cited authority that allows you to cling to your beliefs, regardless of the actual value of that authority or the sheer number of people with equal or greater authority who say the exact opposite. Which allows people with ulterior motives to manufacture authority, get lies out there, and the lies flourish because the people that want to believe them can claim that they saw it on the Internet, and it is true.

And yes, this problem existed before the Internet, but the Internet amplifies this effect exponentially. For example, Michael Jungbauer has videos on YouTube.

Who is Michael Jungbauer? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. Pretty much everyone agrees that Jungbauer is a Minnesota state senator and a Republican. From there, things get a bit fuzzy.

If you ask Jungbauer, he will claim he is my state's number one global warming denier. He will tell you that he has attended three colleges, has a background in biochemistry, and is working on his master's degree in environmental policy. And he will tell you that he has studied all thirteen disciplines of science, that he learned in a tropospheric chemistry class that CO2 doesn't cause warming, and that as a result, global warming is a hoax and the Earth is about to start cooling down any minute now.

If you ask Don Shelby, noted retired news anchor, he will probably not use the exact words "Michael Jungbauer is so full of shit that you could grow organic heirloom tomatoes in his scalp". Because Don Shelby is classier than I am. But Don Shelby did look into many of Jungbauer's credits and claims, and I think my more colorful interpretation captures the net result of his investigations.

For example, Jungbauer has no bachelor's degree. And the college where he's supposedly getting a master's degree in environmental policy doesn't offer a master's in environmental policy. And presumably, if they did, they wouldn't offer it to fucking Bible college dropouts who can't hack four years at Moody Bible College and instead have to become an ordained minister under the noble auspices of, I SHIT YOU NOT, Christian Motor Sports International. Which I can only assume is like NASCAR, only even more hicky.

Basically, what it boils down to is this. Jungbauer's read a couple of books by right-wing climate-change deniers, inflated his resume, learned a few science words, and presented himself as an expert. He is a self-made manufactured authority. And thanks to him, thousands of other dumbasses can watch him on YouTube, note his tie, his PowerPointed charts and graphs, and the fact that he's standing in front of a whiteboard, add it to his fake credits, and elect more dipshits like Jungbauer so that we won't pass a carbon tax, go solar, or save ourselves from steaming to death.

And all so a few thousand oil company execs don't have to cut back on... fuck, I don't even know what someone making $100 million a year cuts back on if they're only making $90 million a year. Gold-plated caviar? Is that a thing?

And it's just that easy. There's no such thing as a "tropospheric science class". CO2's heat-trapping effects are known, proven scientific facts. Yet with two simple lies, Jungbauer can undermine not just the fake "debate" about the validity of anthropogenic climate change, but fundamental chemistry and physics.

Thanks, YouTube! Between this and "Friday", it's a damn good thing you're full of cats.