Sheeple

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Goatle are clearly superior to sheeple.
We control what
you think with

Language
Icon language.svg
Said and done
Jargon, buzzwords, slogans
im the only guy who knows how to call out the bull shit of society the smart way. and against all odds i do it for free
—wint[1]
Meek and obedient, you follow the leader

Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel

What a surprise
—Pink Floyd[2]
For the bleating animal, see Sheep.

Sheeple, sometimes spelled sheople, is a portmanteau of the words "sheep" and "people" used mainly by political cranks to describe the great unwashed masses that are blissfully "unaware" of whatever fringe issue is currently in vogue. 'Sheep' or 'cattle' in obvious reference to people has the same implications.

Analogous in use is the word "zombie", a word (as of recent years) trending in popular culture and video-games, which has been picked up by cranks like conspiracy theorist Mark Dice in order to try to lure people closer to his worldview. Godspeed, Mark. The internet has also spawned a meme known as the "NPC" or "Non-Player Character" to describe the unconscious, script running brainwashed masses; this was subsequently adopted by the alt-right as a way to attack anybody who doesn't see the world their way.

Origin[edit]

The term was, according to some sources, popularized in the late 1980s by William Cooper,[3] but it appeared earlier than that in the Wall Street Journal in a 1984 article attributing the term to the John Birch Society.[4] The earliest known occurrence according the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1945 by an arts critic, "The People, as ever (I spell it ‘Sheeple’), will stand anything."[5][6] The earliest use of the term was by E. C. Segar, the creator of the Popeye comic strip. In the mid-1930s, an episode dealt with Popeye marooned on an island ruled by a totally ineffective king who would issue bizarre commands to his people who in turn would blindly follow them. Popeye began calling them Sheeple.[7]

The metaphor of sheep standing for the clueless public believing everything their political masters told them was of course used by George Orwell in his 1945 fable Animal Farm.

Usage[edit]

You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.
Food and Drug Administration, telling antivaxxers not to use a veterinary drug to treat COVID in sheeple[8]

It is a favorite of uneducated teenage YouTube commenters and libertarian conspiracy theorists who use it to describe anyone whose heart does not skip a beat in love every time Ron Paul[9] or Rand Paul's[10] name is mentioned — in other words, those who don't blindly and slavishly agree with the aforementioned. Michael Savage uses it as well.[11] It is most commonly used by cornered cranks who are running out of false facts or have had all their "evidence" debunked, or as a last ditch attempt to substitute actual evidence. The irony in this is that most conspiracy nuts that whip this word out are commonly, blindly following a 'theory' without having even a smidge of evidence supporting it, and sometimes, not even understanding it (in the case of technical matters, such as the 9/11 collapses). William Cooper's unified conspiracy theory book Behold a Pale Horse makes frequent reference to sheep (and to a lesser extent to cattle) in the sheeple-sense of the word.[12]:64-65,73,159-161,234,297,317

Among survivalists, it is a reference to those who are Not Prepared for the Great Calamity Which Is Coming Shortly and who instead assume the government will take care of them in case of a disaster, à la Hurricane Katrina.[13][note 1] Common to dealing with persons in all these categories and more is the strong impression that one is in the presence of a frustrated would-be shepherd.

While it is true that the majority of Americans fail to understand even the most basic facts about civics,[note 2] reality is not a popularity contest. The level of acceptance of an idea among greater society does not have significant bearing to the merits of the idea — Galileo and Charles Darwin went through significant backlash to their scientific theories in their lifetimes, but their ideas have gained wide acceptance in the scientific community. On the one hand, American culture needs to value knowledge and intellect more, so that people can hold honestly-informed opinions about society. On the other hand, the reason why so many sheeple are rejecting the crazy conspiracy theory of the week could be because the theory is simply a lie or with very little basis in fact.

Russia[edit]

Similarly, in post-Soviet Russia, the term bydlo (быдле), literally 'cattle' but sometimes translated as 'sheep', has been used in the Orwellian sense.[15] The term temnoe bydlo (темное быдло), literally dark cattle, was also used in Bolshevik poetry.[15]

Russian fascist philosopher Ivan IlyinWikipedia (1883–1954) developed the non-factual idea that the Russian people, as well as the Slavic people of Ukraine and Belarus) are inherently innocent.[16]:22-23 The fiction of Russian innocence that Ilyin developed is one that can be exploited by a fascistic (or kleptocratic) state that never delivers improvements but only maintains the status quo ("eternity politics" in historian Timothy Snyder's parlance).[16] It is no coincidence that Ilyin is Vladimir Putin's most esteemed philosopher.[16]:16-35

What is the singular form?[edit]

Q: If sheep is the singular of… sheep, and person is the singular of people, it is not clear what an individual within the sheeple herd is to be called — "sherson"? "Sheepson"? "Sheerpson"? Or perhaps just "sheeple"? (Although the latter just seems like grammatical error.)

A: A sheep.

More lulz[edit]

A surprising number of folks who brand their opponents as "sheeple" are themselves members of the Religious Right, who view the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Their Bible encourages the followers of Christ to behave like "sheep" in the care of their "shepherd", avoiding false shepherds that turn out to be wolves in sheep's clothing.

Wake up, sheeple![edit]

You will be led to judgement like lambs to the slaughter—a simile whose existence, I might add, will not do your species any favors.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Hey, wait a minute, the government did take care of them, didn't it?
  2. For example: "Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war [Iraq War] there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East."[14]

References[edit]

  1. im the only guy who knows how to call out the bull shit of society the smart way. and against all odds i do it for free by wint (@dril) (8:24 PM - 19 Jun 2017) Twitter (archived from 9 Jan 2018 00:44:36 UTC).
  2. "Sheep" by Pink Floyd (Jan 8, 2016) YouTube.
  3. Sheeple at urbandictionary.com.
  4. Sheeple at wordspy.com.
  5. "Round about Radio" by W. R. Anderson (1945) Musical Times 86(1225):84. doi.org/10.2307/933326.
  6. sheeple, n., Oxford English Dictionary.
  7. The early Thimble TheatreWikipedia comic strips by E.C. Segar were reprinted in The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye series by Fantagraphics Books in the 1980s. Volume 5, ISBN 0930193296, presents the debut of Popeye. See also Volume 6 ISBN 0930193512, Volume 7 ISBN 093019358X, Volume 8 ISBN 0930193938, Volume 9 ISBN 0930193938, Volume 10 ISBN 1560970138, and Volume 11 ISBN 1560970154.
  8. You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it. U.S. FDA (4:57 AM - 21 Aug 2021) Twitter (archived from 23 Aug 2021 19:20:08 UTC).
  9. Re: Bernanke to the sheeple: don't even THINK about auditin by fainly161 (Feb 16, 2010) YouTube. "Ron Paul Warns of Cming[sic] Social nd[sic] Political Chas"[sic]
  10. Rand Paul: ‘Resist’ the ‘Great Reset’ – ‘They can’t arrest us all’ (August 12, 2021) Wake Up Sheeple! (archived from August 25, 2021).
  11. Michael Savage — Welfare Crybabies & The Sheeple Daily Motion.
  12. Behold a Pale Horse by Milton William Cooper (1991) Light Technology Publishing. ISBN 0929385225.
  13. Monday Potpourri: Sheeple and a Backdoor Survival Roundup by Gaye Levy (July 11, 2011) Backdoor Survival (archived from September 24, 2013).
  14. Young Americans Geographically Illiterate, Survey Suggests by John Roach (May 2, 2006) National Geographic (archived from May 13, 2006).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Russia Eternal: Recalling The Imperial Era In Late- And Post-Soviet Literature And Culture by Pavel Khazanov (2017) University of Pennsylvania, doctoral dissertation.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder (2018) Tim Duggan Books. ISBN 0525574468.