Open Thread Jan. 7: Trump Would Totally Watch a Gorilla Channel

Filed in National by on January 7, 2018

I’ve scoured the interwebs all morning but the only interesting thing I’ve learned is about The Gorilla Channel, and I have only my absence from social media to blame for not getting this to you sooner.

It all started, as everything does now, with a tweet. Some guy named Ben Ward appears to be a master of the form, having released the Milkshake Duck meme into the world a while back. This time he made up an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” typeset to look legit, about how on his first night in the White House Trump fumed at being unable to get the The Gorilla Channel on his TV. “Trump seemed to be under the impression that a TV channel existed that screened nothing but gorilla-based content, 24 hours a day.”

Ward really nails it there, capturing Wolff’s breathlessly incredulous tone while conveying “facts” that sound simultaneously insane yet possible. The excerpt goes on to relate the many steps White House staff took to avoid disabusing Trump of his belief he was watching The Gorilla Channel, going so far as to edit the documentaries they cobbled into a tape loop that showed only scenes of gorillas fighting each other. (This is a light rewrite of the joke in “Idiocracy,” where the No. 1 TV show in the future is a constant video stream of people getting kicked in the nuts.)

The problem was that people believed it was true. A lot of people. Like, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. Conservative sites had a field day with how gullible Trump-haters are. Even the New York Times has had to weigh in on this entirely pointless kerfuffle, if only to get it on the record as the first big meme of the new year.

Just because it’s pointless doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from it. So many people were ready to believe such a thing because they, myself among them, already believe that if there were a Gorilla Channel, Trump would totally watch it. And if he did watch it, he’d want the boring parts edited out so he could see more fighting. It fooled people because, as absurd as Ward tried to make it — ” ‘On some days he’ll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,’ an insider told me” — it’s not far enough from some of the wackiness we’ve heard about over the past year.

The point is, this is exactly how the smears against Hillary worked, minus the part where the people who were tricked into believing the stories quickly realized their error. If you don’t live in a self-correcting media environment — if you don’t look beyond your bubble — you are more susceptible to the confirmation bias that appears to be a baked-in part of human nature.

Which leaves me with only one suggestion: Contact your cable or satellite provider and demand they start carrying The Gorilla Channel.

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  1. bamboozer says:

    Blue grass group is Iron Horse if memory serves, they also do a way cool version of Enter Sandman.

  2. eh johnson says:

    Then there’s this version: by William Shatner who, like DJT, plays a rocket man on TV. More here:

  3. Alby says:

    I found the Iron Horse version by accident last night. Boozer is right, they not only do a cover of “Enter Sandman” but a lot of stuff by Modest Mouse and the Shins, too.

    I should also mention that I don’t mean to sound condescending in the headline. I would totally watch the Gorilla Channel myself.

    And I should also provide some actual John Young footage. Here he is showing off his hang time on the moon:

    There are only five people left alive who have walked on the moon. The youngest are 82.

  4. That William Shatner clip is bleeping unbelievable. I’d put it in a time capsule–just to screw with the heads of future generations…or aliens.

  5. nathan arizona says:

    None more cool than Howard Johnson’s blog. Good link.

  6. Alby says:

    This guy sells it harder than Shatner. Works better, too, ja wohl?

  7. Arthur says:

    If a gorilla in a zoo somewhere gets knocked up, there will be a gorilla channel

  8. mouse says:

    That’s it, I’ve had enough, damn Verison makes me pay for C-span, then takes my local station and now my Gorilla Tee Vee. That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.

  9. jason330 says:

    That Andreas Kummert version is kick ass.