Public Service Announcement

16 09 2010

As a public service to my few readers, I am passing on this warning from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

A new, extremely virulent strain of a well-known pathogen has emerged, and is already spreading. It was first observed in San Luis Obispo, CA earlier this week, but we have recently confirmed a new outbreak in Tulsa, OK. The CDC has expended a great deal of effort to identify how this pathogen is spread, and successfully isolated two primary vectors: Police departments and fear-mongering local media outlets. Please avoid believing any so-called “information” coming from either of these two populations.

I refer, of course, to the very old internet meme-turned-public-menace known as Pedobear.

Those of you who frequent the message boards on many web sites will be familiar with Pedobear. For those who are not, Pedobear started existence as a slightly creepy cartoon character from Japanese animation, but has been co-opted for several years by the online community- particularly at 4Chan- as a way of making fun of the widespread hysteria in the US about sexual abuse of children. Yes, it is in poor taste. I would even go so far as to say it is extremely poor taste. Bad taste notwithstanding, Pedobear is yet another long-running internet meme that has begun to creep into what we laughingly refer to as Real Life™.

I assume most of my readers are familiar with the aphorism, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” So it is with Pedobear. It seems that some helicopter parent saw a car with a Pedobear sticker and apparently asked someone what that was. Like most helicopter parents, this person has no apparent sense of humor and very little sense of any other sort, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Pedobear was the “mascot” of pedophiles in the US. The deeply stupid helicopter parent (I apologize for the redundancy) immediately went to the local Police in San Luis Obispo, who promptly issued a Public Warning to the local media outlets about this “new threat” to the precious children. At least one media outlet likewise failed to do any sort of fact-checking on the subject and alerted all of their readers. The internet community enjoyed great lulz, and many web-dwellers made a point of sending comments to the media outlets and police to expose their manifold stupidities.

All of this happened and was essentially over by this past Tuesday, although the giggling on 4Chan never really stopped. This should have been the end of the story, but we are dealing with a particularly virulent strain of stupidity here. Two days later, another news outlet- this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma- released another warning from their local police about this horrible scourge. Obviously, we have a pandemic of stupidity being transmitted from police departments to media outlets  across the country. The only proven way to deal with stupidity of this magnitude is by treating those who have contracted the disease with as much public derision as possible.

This is not the first strain of Stupidus Derpus Pandemicus to appear this year, of course. It is, however, the first one with such easily-identifiable disease vectors. Police departments have no business passing on unsubstantiated rumor as Public Safety warnings- least of all when merely punching the word “pedobear” into wikipedia quickly gives the correct information. Almost any search engine gives up a large sum of information about this meme, which any moron of average intelligence (I include media drones and police officers as a courtesy) should therefore have been able to determine how stupid this “threat” really is. The fact that at least two police departments and media outlets failed to perform even the most perfunctory fact-checking shows a lack of integrity that borders on cosmic.

This image goes out to all the media hacks and tiny-brained thugs-in-uniform out there. Remember boys and girls, the best way to evolve your way out of the swamp is to bang the rocks together.

Such dismal stupidity does bring up an interesting point- given the stellar density of  stupid exhibited by the police and media agencies in this little example, how much more drivel-masquerading-as-fact is being spoon-fed to us by other media and police agencies without our knowledge? I’m guessing quite a bit. Do yourself a favor: if the media or the police are telling you something, check if it’s something important. The epic fail in this episode suggests that such simple facts as, “the sun rises in the east” would warrant fresh investigation if coming from the media or police.

Current status: disgusted

Current music: Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie



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