The entire point of calling this “The Not Fake News” is to address commonly held misconceptions wherever they exist — “commonly held” because there’s no benefit to disproving something nobody believes in anyway, and “misconceptions” because there’s already a huge chorus of media outlets all voicing the same truths, so who needs one more?
In the past, people were obliging enough to present memes that could easily be demonstrated as false. However, now that our social media corporations are taking those down almost as quickly as they go up, it’s difficult to capture one long enough to dissect it, much less to spread the actual truth behind the meme. The danger of this is that rumors are started by that first glimpse, but without permanence there’s no space for discussion or disproof. Even the original poster won’t be sure what it was they started off trying to say.
It’s election time again, and the Get Out The Vote drives have begun. Rock The Vote is observing isolation protocols, presumably having raves on Zoom. Michelle Obama has brought the cast of The West Wing together for a reunion tour — virtually, but still. And the memes blaming non-voters for our terrible times have gone (heh!) viral, popping up on every page but mine.
See, I don’t think we really need to get out the vote, folks. I think if we do, it’s actually a bad thing. Let me tell you why.
Be warned: I’m about to start blaspheming here, though not against any widely respected or even recognized faith.
My target is not a god per se, but rather certain beliefs fervently held by adherents of political parties — who, if they know me well enough by now, have already stopped reading. Which is fair enough; if I fail to lend credence while they impugn my faith, why should they pay attention to someone kicking at the underpinnings of theirs?
Full disclosure: I’ve been down with food poisoning for a few days, so I’ve only watched it in short bite-sized segments, turning it off when I felt too ill or too feverish to make sense of it. I’m still only three minutes in, and it has occurred to me that it’s not just the food poisoning that’s at fault here.
“I am so looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate.” – Stephen Colbert
With the unfortunate and highly regrettable, yet hardly unexpected nor even alas untimely, passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the nation is once again in an uproar. And yet the tempest is at present a mild one — more than “in a teapot”, perhaps, but certainly less than Class Five. And this is as it should be.
The wildfires in California are horrific, and that’s just the beginning: at this writing, there are nearly 100 major wildfires in the West, half along the coast. There’s a series of major disasters underway, and the best we can do at this point is contain the damage.
What makes it worse is, we can be pretty sure it’ll happen again — and again, and again.
We’ve been neck-deep in propaganda season most of the year. Not only is it getting harder to tell fact from fiction from spin from nuanced interpretation — and it was never easy — it’s actually becoming a topic people no longer care about. Fake news is the new normal; as a nation, we’re growing accustomed to believing what we choose to and disregarding anything that doesn’t fit our preconceptions. The alternative would be to do our own fact-checking — and who has time for that?
October 31st, 2020 falls on a Saturday. It’s far too soon to know the weather, but the fact that there’s a full moon is pretty unlikely to change. In other years, this would be a Hallowe’en-lover’s dream. And I, as you know, am a Hallowe’en lover.