Jonathan Kole

WTF Friday: I’m Sure It’s Nothing


Heeeey there, buddy! How you doin’? Doin’ good? Good week? This weather is just really nice, right? You can tell it’s fall. In the morning, you might actually need a sweater. Good cuddlin’ weather. Isn’t that wonderful?

Okay, so while we’re in a good mood, and also talking about closeness and cuddling and human contact, this might be an okay time to segue into mentioning that we’re all going to die, soon, in isolation, bleeding from our eyeballs.

Wait—what’s that I hear? Suddenly, there’s calm man with a reassuring voice telling me not to be afraid. “You should have no concerns about Ebola at all. None. I promise,” he says. “Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television or read the fear-provoking words online. The people who say and write hysterical things are being very irresponsible.”

Yeah… Yeah, you’re probably right, nice man. Now he’s also calling out the partisan gamesmanship that can influence coverage of these events. “With midterm elections coming, the party in charge needs to appear to be effectively leading,” he says. “The party out of power needs to show that there is a lack of leadership.” Wow. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

And what if something does go wrong? “Someday there may be a real panic,” he acknowledges. “Someday, something may start spreading that they can’t control. And then, do you know what we’re gonna have to do? We’re gonna have to relax and listen to leaders. We’re not gonna panic when we’re supposed to and we’re certainly not gonna panic now. We have to stop it.”

Gosh. Thank you. I feel better—really. Who was that grounding, informed, caring authority figure?

Oh yeah, it was Shepherd Smith, of FOX News.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is definitely WTF Friday.

So if FOX News is holding it together, how is everybody else doing?

Okay, not great.

On Thursday, the crew of an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago locked a woman in the plane bathroom after she vomited in the aisle, according to another passenger. The crew suspected her of having the Ebola virus. The trapped woman spent 45 minutes there before landing.

That’s definitely non-optimal.

As every zombie-film aficionado knows, the genre isn’t actually about the shuffling brain-munchers that drive the plot. The true horror in zombie flicks is how the un-infected act when faced with terror and unbound by social norms. Faced with a scary disease just in time for Halloween, some people are responding as if scripted.

You got your better-safe-than-sorry types:

You got your end-timers:

That’s the San Antonio-based pastor and founder of Christians United for Israel positing, “There are grounds to say that judgment has already begun, because he, the president, has been fighting to divide Jerusalem for years now.”

Okay, buddy.

And then there’s Louie Gohmert.

“You know, it’s a shame that the [Centers for Disease Control] head, [Tom] Frieden, is apparently the commander of the Democrats’ new war on women nurses,” Gohmert told Glenn Beck on Beck’s radio program Thursday. “Because, goodnight, they set them up, and then they throw them under the bus.” Gohmert was referring to Frieden’s report that the two nurses infected with Ebola by one of their patients had violated protocol.

While rest of the country is just over here like:

Other zany, non-infectious things happened this week too, though. Word broke that attorneys for the city of Houston subpoenaed the sermons and presentations of pastors who vocally opposed the recently-passed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which extended protections to gay and transgender people. Specifically, the subpoena asked for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

It’s hard to imagine in what universe this seemed like a good idea. Yes, some Houston churches featured sermons against HERO and even collected signatures for the petition to have it put on the November ballot for potential repeal, an effort which failed because the city says too many of the petition pages were disqualified—hence the lawsuit—but still…

Mayor Parker says she didn’t know about the subpoena until this week and that now it’s been amended to pertain only to HERO-specific sermons—but still… Let’s just say Texas Monthly ran a piece about it with a (presumably) Photoshopped picture of Mayor Parker flanked by storm troopers.

But then there’s Jim Hogan. A correspondent from Capital Tonight visited the Democratic nominee for ag commissioner at his farm in Cleburne. Amid explaining why he’s running (he promised he would) and saying that on election night he’ll be home making stew, Hogan broke open a watermelon for his guest to try. Then he asked, “You ever see a goat eat a watermelon?” Then he fed his goats some watermelon.

Asked if he’ll run again if he loses, Hogan said no. “That’s it. I’ll be here at the farm if you wanna come see me.“

Personally, if Ebola or its long shadow of panic spread to my neck of the woods, I think I will go see him. Even if the bogeymen get me, at least I will have seen a goat eat a watermelon.