It's too early to declare the winner of this week's Dumbest Thing Online challenge, but the Daily Wire's Columbus Day video is a strong contender for first place.
The video, which was published on Twitter and Facebook Monday, is supposed to be "satire," according to the right-leaning site's editor-in-chief, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
That's one way to describe it. Other ways to describe it could include "ham-fisted," "mean-spirited," and "low-grade trolling." Also, racist. Just watch for yourself:
Shapiro, for his part, claims he didn't give the go-ahead on the video, but he defends it anyway.
"I've been on vacation for the last two weeks, and I'm only just seeing the video now. While I didn't greenlight it, it's obvious to me that it's satire and must be evaluated by those standards. Everyone needs to calm the hell down," he said in a statement to CNN.
He added, "The video is obviously a response to the Left's decision to turn Columbus Day into a story purely about Western civilization ‘genociding' Native Americans rather than the great gain Western civilization brought the world via entry into the Americas, despite awful wrongs committed in the process … conservatives are allowed to make satire, too."
But what is even the point?
If the goal is to convince people of the wrongness of repurposing Columbus Day, publishing a video depicting Columbus as some sort of white savior among cannibal savages is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Glossing over the heinous and well-documented sins committed by colonists definitely won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you. Sure, preaching to the choir can be fun, and the video will also likely enrage plenty of people on the left. But for what? Isn't that the target audience for persuasion or is this mostly about trolling for the "LOLs"? Conservativism needs to be about more than just bottling liberal tears.
There is some great material on the subject of Columbus and the colonization of the Americas, including the great 1491. There's a lot that can be said about the intersection of Western civilization and Native American culture.
Reducing the story to some sort of absurd Ratcliffe-esque caricature does nothing to move the debate forward. It only inflames emotions.
Update: The Daily Wire has pulled the video from its Twitter feed and Facebook page. Shapiro also issued an apology.
"I was uncomfortable with the video, but in the interests of giving my employees the benefit of the doubt … I decided to leave the video up," he said in a statement. "That was a mistake, and I apologize fully for it."
"After 24 hours of not sleeping, I decided that I could live with the video being left up in my name. yes, the video was satire. In my opinion, it was bad satire. It did not fulfill my editorial guidelines. It skipped over the grave injustices visited upon Native Americans, and it engaged in broad-based stereotyping. The video has been removed," he added.