LA’s Beavis and Butt-Head Love Affair with Alt-Facts and Cat Videos

MEOW MIX-Last Thursday, February 16, 2017, two cars were swallowed up in a giant sinkhole in Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City. Many were shocked that a huge sinkhole could appear from nowhere. People were flummoxed. Others were frightened about where the next one would appear. Would they be next? 

While some opine that sudden sinkholes are caused by the rain or by saturated soil, the real cause is our love affair with simplistic Alt-Facts. After cat videos, the number one interest of Angelenos seems to be Alt-Facts or No Facts at All. 

Alt-Facts have received more attention since Kellyanne Conway gathered together all the BS, lies, myths and Breitbartisms and put them under one label: “Alternative Facts.” That has become shortened to Alt-Facts to correspond with Alt-Right and Alt-Left. Oh, yes sir, the Alt-Left loves Alt-Facts and always has. That’s why Trumpsters think they’re entitled to their Alt-Facts. 

First we need to understand that since November 8, 2016, only Alt-Facts are allowed and all other facts, what we used to call reality, are discarded. Here are three tests for deciding if a “Proposed Fact” qualifies as an Alt-Fact: 

Test #1 

The first test for an Alt-Fact is whether it emotionally satisfies the reader. This test is similar to cat videos; we watch them because they make us feel good. That is the first job of an Alt-Fact: feeling good. If a proposed fact does not make the listener feel good, it gets dumped into the Fake News file.   

Test #2 

The second test for an Alt-fact is whether it makes one think. If a proposed fact requires thinking, it is discarded as if it never existed. 

Angelenos have been told for over ten years that the City’s infrastructure is crumbling, but that is not a fact to Angelenos. It is not emotionally satisfying like a cat video and it does require asking questions like, “What is infrastructure?” Much easier to shift one’s attention: “Oh look, some puppy dog videos to go with the cat videos.” 

Test #3 

The third test for an Alt-Fact is whether it requires a person to do something other than feel morally outraged. A crumbling infrastructure fails this test. If people took the time to understand what the word infrastructure even meant, they would realize that they should do something – yes, before another huge sinkhole opens and swallows up more cars. Any information that requires a prolonged course of action such as gathering more information, undertaking studies and assessing how much money it would cost and the marginal efficiency of capital for a given project is deleted from the minds of Angelenos. 

Steven (Breitbart) Bannon has adopted the LA mode to deal with fact-based reality: “Largest crowds ever…facts are bad…the media is the enemy of the American people.” 

The Beavis and Butt-Head mentality that engulfs Los Angeles considers cars falling into sinkholes as “really cool.” Yes, and they are giggling about sink sounding like “stink” and we know what the word “holes” means to them. Now they’re Googling “cars in stink holes.” 

We live in a city where water mains burst about three times a week, but we ignore this because bursting water mains are not emotionally satisfying. When news reporters refer to that terrible word “infrastructure” and ask why the mains are busting, it requires thinking. Same goes with all the other signs that LA is becoming a “loser city” -- complete with constant soothing suggestions that everything is okay … no need to worry … no need to think. 

Remember back before the Crash of 2008 when some people tried to explain that rising housing prices was not a good sign? “BORING! Show me more cat videos.”

In this climate, it is no wonder that no one is running against Garcetti for Mayor. Sure, some people placed their names on the ballot, but they are not actually running. One dufus made the point that Garcetti should promise to serve a “full 5 and ½ years.” Why didn’t he just offer to give all his votes to Garcetti? 

We live in a city that’s been controlled by the Beavis and Butt-Head mentality for years. And it is not going to change for the simple reason that the non-Beavis and Butt-Head people are leaving Los Angeles. Those who remain will find more and more busted water mains, sinkholes swallowing cars, billions more missing from City Hall, fewer paramedics, more police shootings and higher crime rates…but they’ll still have their cat videos. 

As Alfred E. Newman said, “What, me worry?”


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.