Fifteen Minutes of Shame

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“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

This familiar quote, which is attributed to Andy Warhol, has resulted in a modern, truncated version of the concept that everyone will eventually receive his or her time in the spotlight. It also reflects how fragile and fleeting celebrity status has become and just how fickle the present-day public has trended.

In the age of social media, though, another phenomenon has been taking shape online, and Warhol’s iconic words are being subjected to a warped parallel paraphrasing. The twisted Warhol-ism that has emerged is the following: “In the future, everyone will be forced to suffer through his or her 15 minutes of shame.”

In today’s digital world, a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram mob is able to publicly humiliate a well known, or even not so well known, individual or group for alleged acts or statements, thereby detrimentally affecting occupation, reputation, and/or social life.

Social media shaming can result in an instantaneous career end and destructive ramifications for anyone who is the unfortunate recipient of it.

Embarrassment is an intensely negative universal human experience, which is tethered to a fundamental need to be accepted into a circle, respected by its members, and loved for who we are. The thought of losing any of these basic necessities is a terrifying prospect, and it can create a desperation within an individual or group of individuals that is unlike any other misfortune that may befall us.

For a while now, particularly within the social media realm, individuals as well as groups have been going about weaponizing social media technology via memes and bots as a means of magnifying a digital footprint and amplifying a message. This is routinely done deceptively so as to give the impression that the representative numbers are significantly greater than they actually are.

When combined with the type of hyper-political correctness that is being promulgated by various activist groups, these social media activities pose an unprecedented threat to free expression, and perhaps even more perilous, an assault on the psyche.

The latest large-scale episode of social media shaming occurred when comedic actor Kevin Hart was compelled to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Oscars. Hart pulled out of the hosting gig after he and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received the social media shaming treatment over jokes that he had posted in the distant past.

Immediately after it was publicly reported that Hart would host the industry’s most prestigious awards show, the virtual walk of shame began. Posts cited select archived comedy routines and tweets, which featured the comedian joking about trying to stop his son from becoming gay.

Reportedly, the Academy urged Hart to apologize for the past posts, but he refused, stating that he’d already apologized.

“I’ve addressed it,” Hart said in an Instagram post. “… I’m not going to continue to tap into the past when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”

Hart eventually did express contrition in a later tweet, stating, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.” He explained that the reason he was withdrawing from hosting duties was so that he would not “be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.”

In a surprising twist, Ellen DeGeneres is now in the social media crosshairs. In an attempt to try and reinstate Hart as the host of the 91st Academy Awards, the daytime talk show host acted as a mediator of sorts between Hart and the Academy.

During a recent episode of her syndicated daytime talk show, one in which Hart appeared and gave his first interview on the subject, DeGeneres disclosed that she had talked with Academy officials and suggested that they bring Hart back as Academy Awards host. She also told Hart and her viewing audience that the Oscar leadership would still like Hart to be the host.

“It was an attack,” Hart told DeGeneres. “This wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t a coincidence. …To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008? That’s an attack. That’s a malicious attack on my character.”

Hart added, “That’s an attack to end me. That’s not an attack to end the Oscars, that’s an attack to end me.” He continued in his expression of indignation and defense of his character.

“This was to destroy me. This was to end all partnerships, all brand relationships, all investment opportunities, studio relationships, my production company and the people who work underneath me. This was to damage the lives that had been invested in me. It’s bigger than just the Oscars. It’s about the individuals who are out there now that are finding success in damage. They’re finding success in damaging your ‘celebrity,’” Hart explained.

It turns out that in a prior stand-up routine, Hart had shared, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay … If I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”

In a past post, Hart had also used his Twitter account to jokingly tweet that he would hit his son with his daughter’s dollhouse if he ever caught him playing with it. He additionally told Rolling Stone in 2015 that he intended these particular jokes to be self-deprecating.

“The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities,” Hart said. “I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me.”

It appears as though the digital powers that be have decided it is now Degeneres’s turn to take to the shame stage. She is presently being targeted by the social media, in part, for venturing into the truth about today’s internet culture.

“There are so many haters out there,” DeGeneres said. “Whatever is going on on the internet, don’t pay attention to them. That’s a small group of people being very, very loud.”

Taylor Swift Gets Political

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For quite a while now the Internet has had a peculiar obsession with pop star Taylor Swift’s self-imposed political silence.

Liberal-minded Twitter and Facebook users have been posting comments pressuring Swift to join the ranks of myriad other celebrity activists who use their fame capital to move the political bar ever further to the left.

Up until now digital bully tactics have had little effect on the singer-songwriter. However, times have apparently changed in a big way, and Swift, who is currently on a “Reputation” concert tour, uploaded a photo to Instagram that virtually announces her candidate picks for political office in the state of Tennessee.

Swift previously nurtured an image of being above the political fray. In stark contrast, she has now chosen to take very specific positions on a number of polarizing issues in addition to her candidate endorsements.

Letting it be known that she will be voting as a Tennessee resident in the 2018 midterms, Swift announced her support for two Democrat candidates in her home state, one who is running for the U.S. Senate and another who is striving to secure a seat in House of Representatives.

Along with her endorsements, Swift let loose with an over-the-top slam of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, who although of the female gender has the seemingly incorrect party affiliation attached to her name, at least according to leftist celebrity activists.

Swift informed her fans that Marsha Blackburn was running for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee and conveyed her emotion-laced opposition.

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift shared.

Accompanying her post was a black and white photo in which Swift wears a flannel shirt that makes her look like her old country music singing self.

A number of Swift’s A-list BFFs, including Blake Lively, Karlie Kloss, Katy Perry, and Chrissy Teigen, “liked” the post.

In her political Instagram post, Swift referenced her former approach to avoiding political expression.

“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift wrote.

Swift’s habit of abstaining from political discourse had become part of her public image. In a 2012 interview with TIME, she said that in spite of keeping herself “as educated and informed as possible,” she does not discuss political subjects.

“I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people,” she told the publication at the time.

In November 2017, a blogger criticized Swift for her political silence and actually accused her of enabling an alt-right and white supremacist fan base.

Meghan Herning wrote a piece titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation,” which was published in PopFront Magazine. Herning asserted that Swift’s single “Look What You Made Me Do” contains “dog whistles to white supremacy in the lyrics.”

Additionally, referring to the clothing worn in Swift’s related music video, Herning wrote that “Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler had in Nazi Germany.” Herning added that “the similarities are uncanny and unsettling.”

Essentially condemning Swift for her silence, Herning wrote, “And while pop musicians are not respected world leaders, they have a huge audience and their music often reflects their values. So Taylor’s silence is not innocent, it is calculated.”

Herning received a letter from Swift’s attorneys, demanding she retract the article and threatening a lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union promptly came to the aid of Herning.

That same month, the left-leaning UK Guardian published an editorial titled “The Guardian view on Taylor Swift: an envoy for Trump’s values?”

The newspaper implied that, in part, because of her silence, Swift was a stealth Trump supporter.

“… a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base … their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the ‘alt-right,’” the editorial read.

The Guardian claimed that Swift’s songs “echo Mr. Trump’s obsession with petty score-settling in their repeated references to her celebrity feuds, or report in painstaking detail on her failed romantic relationships.”

In a Politico piece titled “The Weird Campaign to Get Taylor Swift to Denounce Donald Trump,” which summarized the pressure being mounted at the time on Swift to jump on the anti-Trump skateboard, Swift was labeled “studiously apolitical.”

Stats on the pop singer reveal that she has garnered 112 million Instagram followers, 84 million followers on Twitter, and 72 million “likes” on her Facebook page.

It is arguable that she is at the apex of the celebrity pyramid, as liberals who have pressured her to join their ranks are no doubt aware.

Her level of fame grants her greater endorsement power than many of the other celebrities who have been visible participants in left-of-center protests of late.

With all this in mind, there is now a question of whether Swift will be able to hold on to her popularity, and additionally whether she can maintain her sizable social media platform after the public becomes fully informed of her newfound politics.

Social Media Memes Obscure Bombshell Revelations in Strzok Testimony

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Peter Strzok is the former Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the FBI. He is the same individual who led the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit use of a personal email server.

Strzok became Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest position within this division. He led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and was part of the investigative team on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel probe.

Strzok recently testified before two House committees about the explicit and clear animus that he expressed toward then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. He did so while simultaneously showing his utter devotion for then-candidate Hillary Clinton, via tens of thousands of text messages with his then-paramour FBI attorney Lisa Page.

Under the oversight function with which Congress is charged, it must determine whether the manifest bias exhibited in Strzok’s text messages influenced his work on three very important investigations, ones that rank among the most serious in modern history.

After the testimony of the FBI agent had been completed, the social media was abuzz with memes that consisted of pictures and video footage showing some rather bizarre facial expressions and body movements on the part of Strzok.

The memes had a potentially negative effect in that, rather than enlightening the public, they served to detract from the substance of Strzok,s testimony.

Meanwhile most of the mainstream media avoided acknowledging points made by GOP representatives and continuously painted Strzok as a victim of Republican persecution.

As if they had torn a page from the Alinsky playbook, Democrats did their best to obstruct and disrupt the hearings with rapid fire interruptions, incessant points of order, and countless motions, timing their outbursts to those moments when Strzok was asked a probing question.

Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen had the gall to talk about a desire that Strzok be given a Purple Heart for his work on the investigations, which was a serious insult to members of the armed forces who have received this distinguished honor.

The Democrats, their media allies, and broadcast television’s late-night hosts portrayed Strzok as a hero, ignoring how he attempted to explain away as mere joshing texts that called residents of Loudoun County, Virginia “ignorant,” and that the smelling of Trump supporters in a WalMart merely meant that he was aware of their presence.

The “we” in “we would stop Trump from getting elected” was supposedly a reference to all of the American people, and according to his testimony, Strzok wrote and sent tens of thousands of texts in which he did not say what he meant.

Even though Strzok was taken off the Mueller investigation for bias, according to Sztrok’s answers bias did not exist, but instead he was removed because of the “appearance of bias.”

Lost amid the strange footage of Strzok, which rapidly spread across the social media landscape, two bombshell revelations were unearthed that were new to the public and the press. The first occurred during questioning by Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert and came immediately after an exchange in which Democrats went into hysterics over Gohmert questioning Strzok as to whether he wore the same grin when he lied to his wife about having an extramarital affair.

Although the outburst by the Democrats sounded rather rehearsed, it did manage to distract from the pertinent information that was about to be exposed. Via his questions to Strzok, Gohmert revealed that the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) had informed Strzok that forensic analysis of metadata from Hillary Clinton’s email had indicated that over 30,000 of Clinton’s emails had been forwarded to the email address of a known hostile foreign entity, and that this entity was not Russia.

Gohmert stated that Frank Rucker, an ICIG investigator, presented the forensic findings to Strzok but no action whatsoever was taken by Strzok to pursue the significant intelligence matter. Strzok acknowledged having met with Rucker but claimed that he could not recall the “specific content.”

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, telling Strzok, “You were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

What possible explanation could there be for a highly placed FBI official failing to diligently pursue such a significant intelligence breach? Bias appears to be the most sensible explanation.

Still, there is an even more important revelation that arose during questioning conducted by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. The revelation deals with a fundamental question: What exactly was the basis for launching a major counterintelligence investigation that targeted the Trump campaign?

Strzok acknowledged under questioning by Jordan that the fourth ranking official at the Department of Justice, Bruce Ohr, supplied the FBI with documents that were the basis for the counterintelligence investigation. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, conducting opposition research against then-candidate Trump, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The material Ohr provided was compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and consists of documents that are known as “the dossier.”

“This is the first time, to my knowledge, the FBI has admitted they got parts of the dossier from Bruce Ohr, a fellow DOJ employee,” Jordan told Sean Hannity during a Fox News appearance.

The revelation confirms the fact that an unverified, unreliable dossier, which was purchased as opposition research by Clinton’s campaign, formed the basis by which a counterintelligence investigation against Clinton’s opponent in the presidential election, namely now-President Trump, was launched and was soon used to obtain FISA warrants to surveil members of her opponent’s campaign.

The Left’s Attempt to Silence Kanye West

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Author and conservative icon Andrew Breitbart had a phrase that rings true to this day: “Politics is downstream from culture.”

For decades now the left has maneuvered its way into dominating the pop culture as well as the cult of personality itself. Liberal political mantras have engulfed a once vibrant arena in which an exchange of ideas lived and breathed.

Far-left activists, who in many instances amassed their fortunes on fertile Left Coast soil, took to using their positions of prominence to force agenda-ridden content into every facet of the entertainment industry.

Kanye West, one of the most well known celebrities in the entertainment world, recently disrupted the info world order and did so by expressing to his millions of Twitter followers material that is contrary to current liberal doxology.

Kanye’s first tweet made social media heads explode.

I like the way Candace Owens thinks,” the rapper-entrepreneur posted.

Essentially Kanye endorsed Owens, who is a talented African-American woman who speaks out against victim-hood and, in her words, the “Democratic Party plantation.”

The media organs of the left reacted in predictable fashion, attempting to disparage, isolate, and destroy Kanye as well as any other notable individual who would dare traffic in liberal political “heresy.”

The pattern has become all too familiar as has been witnessed with various other celebrities, including Shania Twain, Roseanne, and Tim Allen. However, Kanye’s position in pop culture appears to pose a greater threat to the liberal powers that be, particularly because he is an African-American who is held in high esteem within his own community and an ever widening circle.

West has been known to frequently delve into matters deemed controversial, but in this case the media appear to have placed him on an exile list for having expressed views that differ from the mandated liberal slate.

A highly unusual number of Kanye-bashing headlines have arisen, including the following:

— “You Know You’ve F***ed Up When Donald Trump Thanks You” (Esquire)

— “How Red-Pill Culture Jumped the Fence and Got to Kanye West” (Wired)

— “The bizarre political evolution of Kanye West” (The Washington Post)

The Post was not done yet. It went on to viciously associate Kanye with the Alt-Right in a piece titled “Kanye West, alt-right darling.”

Throughout the Internet and social media, reactions by resistance trolls were filled with vulgar, profanity-laced tirades, including platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other left-of-center websites. Celebrities began to unfollow Kanye on Twitter, including Drake, Justin Bieber, BTS, The Weeknd, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Kendrick Lamar.

Members of the Kardashian clan, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, apparently also stopped following Kanye. Rosie O’Donnell and Samuel L. Jackson tweeted out highly negative reactions to Kanye’s posts.

John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen are no longer Kanye followers. The reflexively liberal Legend evidently texted Kanye to try and convince him to back off from his recent posts.

I hope you’ll reconsider aligning yourself with Trump,” the singer-songwriter wrote.

In a tweet of a screenshot of a text thread, Kanye made it a point to let Legend and the public know that he takes his pro-Trump expressions seriously. He texted that Legend was using “a tactic based on fear” to undermine Kanye’s political and cultural beliefs.

With a post that read “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” Chance The Rapper tweeted out what appeared to be support for Kanye. However, in a redux of the Shania Twain debacle, after being blasted on social media Chance backtracked and made statements that he is not a Trump supporter.

Despite all of the backlash, Kanye forged ahead with a stream of posts expressing his affection for the president, including a photo of his personal “Make America Great Again” cap, complete with an autograph by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

You don’t have to agree with Trump,” Kanye tweeted, “but the mob can’t make me not love him.”

He referred to President Trump as his “brother” and explained that they both possess “dragon energy.” He even doubled down on his pro-Trump expressions with the release of a new song “Ye vs. the People”

Because Kanye is such a seminal figure within the pop culture, his independent minded thoughts threaten the exclusivity of a territory that the left wing and the Democratic Party have always dominated.

The African-American vote is a significant part of left-of-center constituents. African-American voters typically choose Democrat candidates at a 90 percent level. If there is even a small drop in the African-American Democrat vote, the Party’s candidates are simply going to lose.