What If “The Dress” Was a Political Issue? An Examination of Our Belligerent Egocentrism.

From The Publisher

That’s right, I’m talking about “The Dress,” an incendiary internet topic that had already gone through a meteoric rise and fall of online trendiness even before I began writing this.

In case you’ve been off-gridding with Jesse Ventura since Thursday of last week and managed to avoid the nearly instantaneous raging worldwide debate over the true colors of a horizontally striped dress, you won’t believe what millions of people wasted time arguing about for a solid day.

Here’s a recap: Someone took a photo of a royal blue dress with black lace early last month prior to a wedding in Scotland. According to The Associated Press, “guests at the wedding could not understand why, in one photo of the dress being worn by the mother of the bride, the clearly blue and black-striped garment transformed into gold and white. But only in that single photo, and only for around half of the viewers.”

The photo was shared and debated by a handful of people on social media until Buzzfeed picked it up and published it. Then, before you could say “clickbait,” #TheDress was the top internet trend amid a tsunami of reaction.

Citing things such as “the exceptional bar-code style of the dress, combined with the strongly yellow-toned backlighting,” experts explain the photo is “a one-in-a-million shot that perfectly captures how people’s brains perceive color and process contrast in dramatically different ways,” and “provides the brain a rare chance to ‘choose’ which of the dress’s two primary colors should be seen in detail.” In other words, the perfect storm of conditions conspired to expose a quirk in how the human eye and brain work to interpret colors.

I began thinking about how certain pundits and members of the media might handle the debate over “The Dress” if it were a political issue, so I made it one.

Yet with countless people expressing incredulity and making belittling comments about others — even loved ones — who saw the dress differently than they themselves did, I could not, in a million years, have come up with a better analogy for the current state of political discourse in this country.

The heated, and sometimes hostile, debate over “The Dress” is a perfect tool to illustrate our brash partisanship and growing inability to appreciate — or even tolerate — the viewpoint of others.

Think about it: people wasting time and bandwidth calling each other names because they see the same thing in two completely different ways, even though both sides have perfectly valid and rational reasons for viewing that thing the way they do? If that doesn’t describe how political issues are typically discussed in this country, I don’t know what does.

With that in mind, I began thinking about how certain pundits and members of the media might handle the debate over “The Dress” if it were a political issue, so I made it one.

In the following hypothetical examples, conservatives see the dress as white and gold, because they’re mostly white and favor the rich. Liberals, on the other hand, see it as blue and black, because they have blue states and black voters. As for libertarians, they see the dress as purple and red, because they’re libertarians. And apathetic people see it in grayscale, because it’s all the same, man.

 

Bill O’Reilly would call people who say the dress is blue and black “a bunch of pinheads.”

Sean Hannity would declare people who say the dress is blue and black are “unpatriotic” and “destroying America.”

rush_limbaughRush Limbaugh would claim “there’s something defective” in the brains of people who say the dress is blue and black, and that the women who like the dress are sluts.

Ann Coulter would say the dress proves what happens as a result of a society that hates the culture created by the white Christians who founded this country.

The Hayride’s Scott McKay would publish a mean-spirited, awkwardly written tirade about the “imbeciles” who say it’s black and blue, accompanied by an advertisement for the “secret to curing diabetes by drinking two liters of Coke a day.”

Rush Limbaugh would claim “there’s something defective” in the brains of people who say the dress is blue and black, and that the women who like the dress are sluts.

Chris Matthews would invite people on his show Hardball to say how they see the dress, and then yell over them the entire time.

Rachel Maddow would ask a bunch of slightly pompous, rhetorical questions about Republicans who say the dress is white and gold, all with a wry smirk on her makeup-free face.

keith-olbermann-yellKeith Olbermann would do a countdown of the three worst people in the world — all of whom see the dress as white and gold — then righteously demand they either resign or be impeached/fired, and then crumple up the paper in front of him, throw it at camera one, and close with a blunt “Good night and good luck.”

Alex Jones would say, “The truth is, the dress was actually used to blow up the World Trade Center on 9/11,” and “All these people saying it’s ‘blue and black’ or ‘white and gold’ are all part of a government conspiracy to distract us from the real threats of chemtrails and fluoridated water.”

Fox and Friends would bring on a respected scientist to explain why some people see the dress as white and gold while others see it as blue and black. Steve Doocy would then point to a poll that shows 87% of Fox News viewers say the dress is white and gold and insist the poll proves that science is wrong. Later that afternoon, Fox News contributor Eric Bolling would say all the snow in the northeast proves the dress is white and gold.

 

Eventually, “The Dress” morphed from being a teachable moment about Americans’ seemingly increasing incapacity to abide differing viewpoints into an excuse to make fun of people in the media.

 

Wolf Blitzer would interview a hologram of the dress.

Tavis Smiley would ask the dress how it feels about being viewed as something other than black.

Nancy_GraceNancy Grace would spend two weeks’ worth of shows covering the search for the white girl who was last seen wearing the dress.

Fresh Air’s Terry Gross would start asking the dress an “um”-filled question that she wouldn’t finish until mid-2016.

Nancy Grace would spend two weeks’ worth of shows covering the search for the white girl who was last seen wearing the dress.

Bob Costas: Would spend so much time listening to himself talk, he would never get to a question for the dress.

Ellen Degeneres: Would make the dress go through a haunted house so she could laugh at it.

Local radio host Jim Engster would refer to the dress by its first, middle, and last name, and start the questions by pointing out the dress’s birthday and all other famous people born on the same day.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Jeremy White

Jeremy White
Jeremy White is an engineer by education, but a smartass by birth. He managed to overcome the obstacles presented by his technical background, and has brilliantly devised a way to make a living making fun of people.

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