John Oliver’s “This Is Not Normal” Video Inspired Us

John Oliver was not the first media figure to point out that the situation in which we find ourselves in “Not Normal”. But, as is so often the case with Mr. Oliver, it’s the WAY that he said it that is so memorable and so instructive. In fact his rant on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, broadcast on HBO November 13, was the inspiration for the creation of NOTNORMAL.INFO and our sticker campaign. 

The entire video is super and should be viewed if you have not done so already. The segment that gave us the “aha!” moment starts at marker 22:20 (22 minutes, 20 seconds into the video). We recognized how easy it will be, as time passes, to become anesthetized by what we expect to be a constant onslaught of sound bytes from Trump, echoed and amplified incessantly by popular mass media. It will be so easy to allow our sense of right and wrong – of decency, of justice – dulled so that we cease to be outraged; so that we cease to speak out.  

Oliver’s plea that we paste on our refrigerators a Post-It Note inscribed with the words “This Is Not Normal!” led to our decision to do what we can to turn that reminder into a meme and to help it go viral. We reasoned that we should do what others might not – to go offline with the meme in the way that Post-It Notes are “offline”, and to enlist as many Americans as possible to do the same. Thus was born the Not Normal Sticker Campaign.  We hope you will join the campaign.

We’re New – Give Us Some Runway?

Photo reprinted courtesy of Joi Ito under Creative Commons License.

Yes, that’s right. We’re the new kids on the block.

Look, if you think about it, Donald Trump was just elected President a month ago. It took us a little while to get over the shock, a couple of weeks to make the decision to remain residents of the US and “duke it out” with the forces of intolerance, hate, and nationalism. That has taken a while because it remained unclear for some time whether Donald Trump meant what he said during his campaign or if he was just saying whatever he felt he needed to say to get elected. It still is unclear even after several key Cabinet appointments have undergone confirmation hearings. What remains clear – to us – is that the Trump presidency has the capacity to severely deteriorate the fundamental character of what we know as America. Once we arrived at that conclusion, we decided that we had to take action. We hope you will, too.

Ultimately, we decided that, aside from normal activism, we needed to get involved in information dissemination. Not only because knowledge is critical for the proper functioning of a democracy that is under threat of having decisions made the way they are on reality TV shows but also because the act of disseminating information of the “Can you believe this?” variety might, in fact, be cathartic for us. The latter remains to be seen.

One thing for sure: publishing on the web in a blog is not as easy as it sounds if you haven’t been involved in it recently. The last time I was involved in the day-to-day creation of a website and the management of its content was back when Netscape was the leading web browser and one of the leading web publishing packages sold under the moniker “Hot Dawg” and required fairly advanced knowledge of HTML. Social media did not exist and the word “blog” would have conjured up images of a swamp filled with bubbles. I’m hoping that management of the site’s content will be a bit easier than it used to be but I did have to spend a lot of time getting up to speed on web hosting and ferret out what is included in free and premium packages for content management, WordPress themes, e-commerce mechanisms, and more. Trial and error became my reality.

In any case, we are on the shallow start of a learning curve and hope to be on the steep part of that curve in the near future. In the meantime, we hope you will give us the benefit of the doubt. And share our commitment to ensuring any and all travesties get highlighted as NotNormal. Thanks for visiting.