Those of you who recently made the switch from Friendster to Facebook are probably familiar with the omnipresent “Can This Pickle Get More Fans Than Nickleback?” group. (Warning: photograph of anthropomorphic pickle engaging in apparently consensual sex act with Chad Kroeger.) The group was founded in February, back when Nickelback’s Facebook page listed 1,380,820 fans. While new Nickelback fans have since trickled in, new fans of the pickle that symbolically opposes Nickelback rushed as a raging torrent, and at some point on Friday afternoon the pickle pulled ahead. Right now, the pickle has 1,456,556 fans, while the group Billboard two months ago declared the Band of the Decade has 1,418,801. On Facebook, at least, This Pickle has more fans than Nickelback. Which raises some interesting questions.
If you’re eating something, spit it out right now. Don’t swallow it, because you’ll only see it again seconds later. Gallup has released the results of its annual poll to determine the men and women Americans most admire, and Glenn Beck has tied with Pope Benedict XVI for fourth place. That’s right: the man who made this video (and this video explaining that video) is as well-regarded, among Americans, as God’s official representative on Earth. Barack Obama crushed his division for the second year in a row, topping the list of most-admired men with a healthy margin over the second-place finisher, George W. Bush. Are you beginning to appreciate the sheer insanity of this poll, yet? Arguably legitimate human being Hillary Clinton topped the list of most admired women, but she only beat Sarah Palin by one percent. Maya Angelou remains deadlocked with Margaret Thatcher.
The takeaway from all of this is that Americans respect—or at least claim to respect—a former morning zoo DJ whose television show started four years ago more than the head of the Catholic church. Those of you concerned that people in the office like one of your coworkers better than you might consider, for a moment, of what value the esteem of the mob. Whatever you do, don’t consider what values Beck’s ascent alludes to in the hearts of the American people, or how long such a people can successfully operate a representative democracy. That’s what Dana Milbank at the Washington Post did, and he was forced to draw some ugly conclusions. “All ages have their charlatans,” Milbank writes. “The fact that Beck’s stew of venom and fabrication has been such a triumph probably says less about Beck than about us. He has merely captured the moment.” Zing!