Gullibility, abortionplexes and the skinwich

Posted: February 17, 2012 in crotchety ranting, Jeff Holland, Politics, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,

The recent news that a Louisiana congressman posted the Onion “Abortionplex” story to his Facebook page, believing it to be an actual thing that Planned Parenthood is up to, rankled me a little.

I mean, it’s one thing for your great aunt to forward a story outraged over the wasteful spending of Obama’s pledge to give everyone a parrot, but when this is the level of critical thinking employed by an elected member of government, that’s quite another thing.

Please note: Louisiana currently ranks 47th in education. So it does stand to reason that even their elected officials are coming from a background of some of the worst education in the country. 

Does that mean we should cut them some slack? The Atlantic Wire seems to think so, referring to believing an Onion story as an “all-too-common” mistake. Which just threw me into straight-up apoplexy.

Let’s be clear here: The Onion isn’t a bunch of sneaky pranksters trying to put one over on folks. Nobody ever says, “Oh, those tricksters in The Onion got me again, those rascals!” They’re a long-established humor site with a focus on satirizing the news. They’ve been in existence for Nearly A Quarter-Century.

To be fooled by an Onion story is to clearly lack the type of basic analytical skills I would argue are pretty important to navigating modern life. And so I feel somewhat confident in saying that if you can believe that Planned Parenthood has billions of dollars to create an Abortionplex – AND THEN CALL IT “THE ABORTIONPLEX” – then you are, by any reasonable standard, quite stupid.

But then I had to admit to myself that time I got tricked into believing that KFC was putting out an all-crispy-chicken-skin sandwich. A little self-reflection was in order.

In my defense, this story came on the heels of KFC actually putting out the Double-Down, a “sandwich” that replaced bread with two greasy pieces of fried chicken breast, and in the traditional role of “sandwich filling,” bacon and oozing cheese – actually, I think they legally have to refer to it as Cheez.

And it sold like GANGBUSTERS.

So at the time, an all-skin sandwich actually DIDN’T sound like the craziest goddamn thing in the world. At least, not to me.

So yeah, I got taken in by it, before learning it was a joke and, yes, feeling a bit stupid. The reason I got taken in by it? Much like Fox Mulder before me, I Wanted To Believe.

(And, in fact, I tried to figure out if there was any reasonable way to actually create a skin-wich, but eventually that project was backburnered once I started thinking about how to make a fried everything wrap. I…I don’t eat very healthily, guys.)

Me, eating a KFC Double-Down IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE.

My desire for a skin-wich to actually exist was born not only out of a grotesque desire to see what something like that would taste like (like a salty hug, I imagine), but also out of a general belief that Americans have put no upper limit on silly excess, and American companies damn well know this (and again: KFC Famous Bowls, and the Double-Down, do more or less bare this theory out).

And so it is with the people who see a phrase like “Abortionplex” and think, “Well of COURSE it’s come to this!” In their minds, that’s exactly where reality is heading, in these crazy modern times.

Which means we need a new word for gullibility of this magnitude. Gullibility is “you know the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary?” Comical but ultimately not dangerous.

“I am against women’s healthcare because I read somewhere that Planned Parenthood made an abortion shopping mall” is just terrifying.

  1. “Americaneptitude.”

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    That is pretty sweet.

  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Bah to S.A.Ts and other standardized, academic tests — this should be the final test of competancy for High School graduation; could you be fooled by The Onion’s “Abortionplex” story? To further assess a student’s ability to think critically: Could you believe that “The Abortionplex” also offered a drive-thru window option?

    However, “The Skinwich” confusion is perfectly acceptable, as The Public would still demand this product, even after finding-out the story was a scam, so it was really just clever crowdsourcing. I’m sure KFC got on developing a focus group plan for “The Skinwich”, like, well…deep-fried animal skin, rolled in cheese on an oily bun.

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