George Will: #BringBackOurGirls Hashtag Campaign is a Powerless ‘Exercise in Self-Esteem’

I always chuckle a little when I hear people tell me that George Will is one of the smart, reasonable conservatives. While, yes, there are indeed many smart, reasonable conservatives, George Will isn’t one of them. He can occasionally say something that sounds promising, but then follows it up with insufferable nincompoopery about the climate crisis or by suggesting that President Obama only won in 2012 because whites didn’t want to fire the black guy. Yes, he really said that.

And now that he’s a panelist on Fox News Sunday his irascible, post-bow-tie dickbaggery has been cranked up to 11. It’s fertile ground for him to not only tag-team with Brit Hume for the role of the tight-assed High School principal on the show, but now he’s free to let fly with his inner crank without being seriously challenged by anyone else, unlike when he was a panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. No need to soften his crapola with accessible and folksy baseball yarns, Will’s new audience demands fire-eating and fire-eating only. Couple that with the fact that I don’t think Will gives a flying shit about anything any more. He’s not even dying his actual hair to match that hairpiece he likely purchased while on a drunken toupée binge with Sam Donaldson back in 1978 and has been flogging it ever since.

So when he callously insulted the #BringOurGirlsBack hashtag campaign on Sunday, it came as no surprise whatsoever. This is what George Will does now.

In case you missed it, the conversation on Fox News Sunday turned to the crisis in Africa in which 270 Nigerian girls were kidnapped back on April 15 and are likely being sold into slavery by Boko Haram terrorists. Moderator Chris Wallace introduced several Twitter photos, including one of First Lady Michelle Obama, holding up hand-written signs with the #BringOurGirlsBack hashtag.

In response, George Will expressionlessly mocked:

“It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there, facing a camera and say, ‘Bring back our girls. Are these barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, ‘Oh, Michelle Obama’s very cross with us, we better change our behavior?’ Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. This is not intended to have any effect on the real world. It’s a little bit like environmentalism has become. The incandescent lightbulb becomes the enemy. It has NO effect whatever on the planet, but it makes people feel good about themselves.”

Let’s try to unpack this arrogant, thoughtless horseshit.

While there are, indeed, hashtivist campaigns that are entirely about inflating the ego and notoriety of the Twitter user who launches the effort, this is clearly not one of those instances. Originally tweeted by Nigerian attorney Ibrahim Abdullahi, #BringBackOurGirls has not only raised awareness about the plight of the kidnapped girls around the world, but it’s also spurred action from the U.S. government, China, France and the U.K.

Contrary to what Will stupidly thinks, the campaign isn’t directed at Boko Haram — the “barbarians.” It’s always been about coaxing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian government to take action against the terrorist kidnappers. Since the hashtag has gone viral, including support from the First Lady, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Pope Francis, Jonathan has been pressured into action when, indeed, for the first two weeks the girls were missing, Jonathan refused to even acknowledge the kidnappings.

By the way, George Will seriously had the sack to indirectly accuse the Pope of engaging in a self-esteem exercise? Really? This from a guy whose entire career is about gluing on his hair, applying copious makeup to his emotionless face and delivering pithy soundbites on Sunday morning television in order to spin current events for a handsome paycheck and a big weekly ego-trip.

To repeat, he said, “Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. This is not intended to have any effect on the real world.” Then what the hell do you call his blinkered nuggets of cranky, pompous verbal masturbation every Sunday? What “intended effects” has he achieved? Read a goddamn newspaper, George. This campaign is absolutely on its way to accomplishing exactly what it intended — maybe more. It’s not easy to predict the actions of radical jihadists, but #BringBackOurGirls has successfully rallied the attention of the free world, and animated its most powerful governments to devise strategies to rescue the girls. This isn’t power?

Moreover, it’s difficult to grasp criticism of any effort whatsoever to rescue those girls, no matter how insignificant. I’m looking at you, too, Glenn Greenwald. If George Will or Rush Limbaugh think the hashtag campaign is all that’s being done, they’re as stupid as they are soulless.

As for that last part about incandescent light bulbs, he’s nuts. CFLs and LEDs use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Less energy usage means a reduction in fossil fuel consumption. A reduction in fossil fuel consumption means lower CO2 emissions. Lower CO2 emissions means the acceleration of climate change is slowed down. And this won’t have any impact on the planet? Huh? Again, I dare anyone to tell me that George Will is one of the smart ones. I fail to see any evidence of this elusive genius.

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.