Do your parents become unhinged after watching Fox News for far too long everyday? If yes, then they may be suffering from "Fox Geezer Syndrome," loosely defined as a tenuous connection between "fevered emotionalism of their elderly parents' politics, and increased exposure to Fox News." This diagnosis arrives courtesy of the pseudonymous Richmond Ramsay, a FrumForum blogger generally tired of fighting with his retirement aged parents about what they see on the "Fair and Balanced" cable network.
"Used to be I would call my mom and get updated on news from the neighborhood, her garden, the grandchildren, hometown gossip, and so forth," Ramsay opines. But more recently, "[my Mom] began peppering our conversation with red-hot remarks about President Obama." This he attributes simply to Fox News--especially Glenn Beck. Aside from the similar refrains that have been echoed about the conservative-leaning network, Ramsay hones in on the uninhibited passion that the network can inspire in its viewers (which do, in fact, tend to be of an older demographic than other networks):
One of the great advantages of a conservative disposition is a suspicion of emotions, and emotionalism. The dumbest decisions I’ve ever made, about politics and everything else, were executed while I was worked up about something, and trusted my emotional response. Passion is inevitable – we are only human, after all – and can be constructive when properly channeled. But passion is the enemy of clear thought and, when given free reign, is the prerequisite for mob rule.
Ramsay's personal account isn't necessarily meant as an indictment of only Fox News (he notes Conor Friedersdorf's similar account of a roommate obsessed with Keith Olbermann), but as "a warning that even passion for righteousness can be turned to evil, precisely because it is passion."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.