Tuesday, February 7, 2017

“I’m from Missouri”

Not really (although I understand it’s a beautiful place to be from, if I was), but this post reflects on how, in these times especially, we should all be “from Missouri”.

“I’m from Missouri; show me” entered the public domain some time in the 19th century. It was, apparently, popularized by Willard Duncan Vandiver, a Democrat from Missouri who said, in an 1899 speech, “I’m from Missouri, you’ve got to show me”.

“Believe half of what you see and nothing that you hear” is another common idiom. Attributed to many, including Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allan Poe, it also cautions against blind acceptance.

Bowling GreenWhat brought this to mind was the recent foofaraw over the Bowling Green Massacre. In case you have been living under a rock and missed it, President Trump’s spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway, referred to the Bowling Green Massacre as justification for one of the President’s policies.  As no such ‘massacre’ ever took place she was forced to backtrack, claiming she “misspoke” (or, in common vernacular, lied). Of course the twitterverse exploded with riotous indignation but the damage was done and some actually took her statement as a truth that had been suppressed by a complicit media. Not to be outdone, we also had a recent example in the Conservative leadership race in Canada where a political operative tweeted information he knew to be false, not to help his candidate but just to “make the left go nuts”. And some did, for which he, somewhat unwisely in my opinion, then claimed credit. Then there’s the whole fake news industry that enriched a handful of teenagers in Macedonia over the course of the US presidential campaign and continues to befuddle attempts by social media companies to control it.

All of which is to say, with the (possible) exception of this blog, IT’S ALL LIES! Welcome to the post-truth world.

6 comments:

  1. I avoid alternative facts in my own daily blog Dave, but I, too, am "from Missouri".

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    1. Gary - There's so much BS out there now I have Snopes in my favourites.

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  2. They are not lies, David, just alternative facts, or in the specific case the alternative Con-verse. And parallel universes do exist, right? By the way, where is my tinfoil hat?

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    1. Sonja - I'm more ready to accept parallel universes than pretty much anything that comes from a very long list of sources, including most politicians and pretty much anything I read on Facebook.

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  3. Bullshit artists believe their lies, this is the difference. Are they so stupid they don't know they are outright lying?

    Sad times to be an American.

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    1. Brandy - While the most egregious example right now is in the US they have plenty of company worldwide. It's tempting to chalk it up to stupidity but I expect it's more insidious than that. And that's what's truly frightening is that behaviour previously considered the domain of third world countries and dictatorships has become so acceptable in western countries.

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