The Insult To The Intelligence

My own fault.

I knew as I poked the iPad screen that I was doing the wrong thing. But I had a half hour to spare while the rest of the family got ready to go out ( My dad once got to read War And Peace while waiting for my mother to get ready…) so I looked at a video that purported to explain the Philadelphia Experiment. A supposed experiment to make a destroyer disappear in Philadelphia Navy Yard.

It was eery, and ooey, and it was only when I noticed that the video footage seemed to be of French naval workshops and German torpedo boat destroyers that I realised that it was a melange of merde. I had read a suitably vague and corny paperback about the subject years ago – and got nothing out of it – but I didn’t realise that YouTube allowed people to make such rubbish in such spectacular form.

I always hesitate to use the term ” Fake News ” as my cousin, Donald Trump, seems to have gotten himself into a lot of hot water by using it so often. And this Philadelphia nonsense is not news anyway – not if it has spawned cheap paperback novels. My cousin, Barack Obama, once visited Philadelphia.  I think he called on my other cousin George Wallace…for political advice.

He could have asked me. But I don’t want to insult your intelligence with that…

For the record: The heading image is not an American destroyer in Philadelphia Navy Yard.

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Possible Is Not The Same As Probable

And neither of them are proven. All three terms are separate in the language and the law. Time to separate them in social media.

Let us take the case of a public figure: Ronald Gump, the President of the Republic of North Mexico. Mr. Gump has the problem that his election angered his political opponents to such an extent that they have never let him be in peace to actually act as president.

They’ve found that the astute use of the social media can keep the man in the firing line of constant abuse and ridicule – even if there is no basis upon which to found this. All they need is people who are of the same mind* as they to keep passing and re-passing the memes – to keep suggesting and sneering and accusing and hinting. Once they start these things off, all they have to do is put in some suggestive headline – no matter how trivial  – to keep the ball rolling.

Mr. Gump would have been wise at the start of his presidency to ignore the social media entirely – as notice taken or anything said merely serves to fuel more hatred. The quick internet response can be a very damaging phenomenon.

The gravest casualty of this whole affair has been the faith which sane people used to put in the media – a credulity that has been largely destroyed. The term ” fake news ” has supplanted the older ones of ” propaganda ” and ” lies ” and makes things seem somehow more amusing and less harmful. ” fake ” is fake, and fake is never good.

*  I may have used the wrong word there. It probably should have been ” mindless “.

The Authentic Fake News Site Vs The False-Flag Rumour Forum List Meme

If we were asked to characterize the social media that we use – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – in terms of food, what would we make it out to be?

a. Facebook: A crusty stew with appetizing aromas at the edges – aromas that never actually seem to be there when you search for them. The occasional bubble in the centre indicating heat. And a roiling mass of unsavoury ingredients just under the crust. Cat hair here and there. And unicorn glitter.

b. Twitter: A Pez dispenser. You poke the ornamental head at the top and a hard pellet of opinion is popped out of the screen. Some of the pellets taste like sugar and some of them taste like horse shit. None of them do you any good at all.

c. Instagram: Magnificently plated, superbly coloured, and unavailable to someone like you at this time. Just look and envy.

d. Pinterest: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and so is the food. The reason is mould. Subscribe now.

e. The personal blog: Someone’s home cooking. Not necessarily bad, but nevertheless someone else’s pots and pans. Taste at your peril. They may not be a good cook. You may not be a good eater.

If we had been presented with today’s social media news in the 1950’s or 1960’s we would likely have recognised it for what it is – propaganda and commercial promotion. The flimsiest of the flam. Those of us who saw the lies when they came on newsprint and left ink stains on the fingers…or who waded through innumerable cigarette advertisements in magazines…react entirely differently to those who have only ever seen a screen. We may not know how to turn that screen on and make it dance, but we know when to turn it off and do our own thinking.

Of course we can be wrong when we do that – original thought can be as bad as the store-bought stuff – but as we use simpler ingredients and have less access to processors, it is likely to be fresher and tastier. It may lack the salt and scandal that is added by unknown hackers but it nourishes us just the same.

Bit riskier when we send it to our friends and neighbours, though. As our own thoughts are unlikely to be covered by the legal indemnities enjoyed by professional liars, we are in danger of being detected and having our opinions challenged. Most of us have no biased reports or dodgy scientific studies to back us up and common sense has long been discredited as a way of living. The best we can do when some other madman challenges our own mania is throw out a smokescreen of kitten and Hitler memes and close the account.

Anyone who either agrees or disagrees with this will be instantly defriended with the prickly end of an emoji.

You Won’t Believe What They Found When…

When they clicked on the next 15 links after the original bait. At least we hope you won’t believe it. Because if you do we’re all screwed.

If you really are as stupid as this we have been wasting half our time here in Macedonia. Not that we haven’t been paid  – a bit of money, a bit of hash, a few drinks, etc. No, that’s fine. We are happy to make up bullshit for the rest of the world on that basis. It saves us from trying to go out and rescue the country from our parents.

What we are really worried about is whether we have spent too much time with well crafted semi-plausible come-ons and conspiracy stories when we could have just thrown out memes with cats and bat children in caves. Have we spent our time making good-quality bullshit when we could have gotten the same pay with poor-quality stuff? It’s a maddening thought.

Fake news and propaganda is not as easy to concoct as you might think – particularly when government agencies are engaged in the very same process. They have access to actual fresh facts, which they can distort in a far more convincing fashion. We’re limited to wild stories and bigotry, and while this is good reliable stuff, it lacks the finish and detail of the official lies. You can’t fake fake.

Of course we are grateful to the Weather Bureau for delivering a hot end to summer in the northern hemisphere. And with the bonus of a hurricane through a heavily armed section of North America. We are hoping that the Texans do not disappoint us in regards to shooting looters on sight. In fact, we count upon it, and have prepared the outrage vats in anticipation. Let ‘er pour, Baby.

Likewise we would like to express our deep appreciation to the under 30’s of the western world who raise howls of protest against anything that they do not understand or have experience of. It is heartening to have such a resource on hand to offer to our backers. We need quality raw material to do good work. And we have some of the stupidest and easily led resources since the 16th century.

Watch this space.