In an Internet age crowded with literally millions of voices, all equally eager to be heard, it is harder than ever for anyone to be heard at all. One can, of course, do so by the quality of one's content, but there has been and always will be a minority audience for quality content. Even before the advent of the World Wide Web, it's always been easier to get attention by poking people in the eye than by appealing to their better angels. And with the current ferocity of the competition level, the need and willingness to poke--and poke hard--has grown exponentially.
Of course, Internet or no Internet, the process has basically always been the same, and should be familiar to everyone. Step one: Make a provocative statement about one or more people in the public eye. Step two: Wait for the media to document the public backlash toward your behavior, thereby generating publicity and financial opportunity for you. Step three: make the most insincere, half-hearted apology possible--just enough of an apology to take your self-generated heat off of you, but not so much that your followers know (wink, wink) have any doubt about your true feelings. Step four: Let the apology be a source of even more publicity, leading to even more financial opportunity. And, as they say in the shampoo business, lather, rinse, repeat.
So no one should be surprised that the wife of the Israeli Interior Minister, who apparently is an Israeli media figure in her own right, has been kvelling (to borrow a word) over the publicity she has generated around the world over a racist anti-Obama tweet she has since deleted. After she deleted it, however, she apologized on Twitter no fewer than three times--just to make sure that we remembered her.
Never mind, for now, what this says about the state of U.S.-Israeli relations, which are depressingly poor. This ugly episode raises the larger issue of what to do about such publicity whores? And be assured: I do not use the last word in the previous sentence lightly. A publicity whore is just that: someone, male or female, who will sell themselves for the sake of being in the public eye, however briefly or notoriously. Clearly, the wife of the Israeli Interior Minister, by her actions, has demonstrated that she fits the definition.
So, what should be done? Should her apology be accepted? No: it is transparently insincere. Should be be shunned, or banned from social media? No: that would give her a martyrdom she does not deserve. Should she be publicly attacked, either through her social media accounts or otherwise? No: see previous reason.
I propose instead the following solution.
Bombard her social media account with positive messages. Remind her constantly of what a great President Obama is. Tweet her Obama quotes, Michelle quotes, Sasha and Malia quotes. Send her the entire text of the ACA, section by section--or, better yet, this past week's Supreme Court decision upholding the ACA, sentence by sentence. Keep this up at such a pace that she has no chance to respond, much less send out any further advertisements for herself (thank you, Norman Mailer).
Eventually, she'll get the message. And maybe, if we could summon enough energy and dedication to do this to all of the publicity whores, we could drive them out of business, one by one. One can always hope, anyway.