A commercial enterprise recently inquired as to my interest in writing for them. And I confess that I DID have a bit of interest. It’s more ego-based than money-based but still, I could use an income supplement now and then. Scotch ain’t free. A new Rivian pick-up truck ain’t cheap. So, I replied with a tentative yes depending on what was needed. It seems what is needed is a formulaic 1000 words and the pay is pathetic. So, I declined.
But, in order for me to know this, the copy publisher sent me a few ‘typical articles’. And that was an eye-opener. Not only were all the so-called articles crafted within the same structure, they were not articles at all. They were all advertisements masquerading as ‘fact-based’ articles. One was titled, “The Top Five Projectors for 2019.”
Very oddly, the first article I read was clearly written by an ESL writer. I admire the effort but the content was grammatically abysmal. The content was just trite phrases and cliches. It was beyond shallow. It was empty. It was a hollow ‘nothing’ touting some stupid plastic+electronics product. It was barely a cut above spam. https://consumerguidehub.com/best-projector-under-500/
Like a noob, I always assumed that some ‘enthusiast’ who was ‘into’ videocams or vacuum cleaners or something was the writer and he or she could do that because they were given maybe ten or more items to test and put through their paces before writing a word. That is NOT the case. The instructions given to me were to find all the hype I needed on the advertisers websites, cut and copy it and then compile all that into an article. No product testing, using or even holding-in-my-hand was required. In fact, no knowledge of anything but plagiarism was required. It was 100% a theft of other’s words barely massaged into something quasi-original.
It was fake news.
Now, I tend to read voraciously. I like to learn. But I have just been exposed to the peripheral edges of the latest and ever-growing-larger fake news industry. Of course, we all know that advertisement copy is exaggerated at best and likely not true in oh-so-many ways. But bona fide advertisements usually have an obvious bias, the word advertisement at the top and then a bunch of logos and crap at the bottom to indicate the company doing the promotion. The reader usually KNOWS when they are reading an advertisement.
When you read an article from Consumer Reports, you are (at least I was) inclined to believe that they had tested those things and they were reporting their findings. And that still might be true for Consumer Reports. But, clearly, that model, that style, that genre of a so-called ‘news’ article is now being copied and repeated to create the impression of a critical, fact-based review of a product and that the writer has some expertise. And that impression is a lie.
I have a blog section above on products I pan or endorse as a result of some personal experience with it. I haven’t added much to it lately because I am doing so much less and even buying fewer tools and such. But everything written there is 100% true (from my perspective). None of it was written for personal gain. No one paid me. No one pays me commissions or anything.
So the point is this: lying has spread throughout our lives like the virus it is. It is everywhere. We all know advertising lies. We all know political lies. We all know spam and other forms of lies but, if you are like me, you think there is a ‘proper source’ for vetted, fact-based information and, unless it is obviously a biased marketing piece, it is as legitimate as can be found. I am now inclined to think otherwise. I now think most things written for even indirect commercial purposes are lies.
I am sure there is truth out there. But you really have to work to find it. I have just peeled back yet another layer of lies and it shows that the bastards are getting more sophisticated and devious in their dissembling.
More and more, less and less is true.
When the Spring Break college types in Florida say they must party on the crowed beaches and possibly get the C 19 virus, ignore the risk and perhaps fall gravely ill…because they do not want miss out on the fraternity boy high jinx…Trump inspired fake virus news has triumphed over one’s instinct for self preservation. Science is a hoax. Thus illiteracy flourishes.
I agree. Ignorance is rampant. But my point is a bit different….my point is that lying is now rampant, and an inherent and influential aspect to all parts of the society. In China the authorities lie. In the US the authorities lie and are currently extra stupid about it. Their media lies (especially Fox). But we KNOW all that. What we don’t know is how pervasive and now how commonly accepted are all the ‘new lies’. It is as if we just willingly injected 20% or more of NEW forms of lying into our life. Amazing.
The bargain appears to be keep our taxes low and we tax resisters must uncritically drink the cool aid!
What are you sayin, you don’t want want to get rich as an influencer?
Well, interesting question…..firstly I do NOT want to be rich. Ever. There is a huge burden that comes with wealth and wealth also seems to corrupt everything it touches. The next generation is invariably screwed and addicted. Too much money ruins families. Plus, what do I need so much money for (save for a Rivian)?
I just want ‘ENOUGH’. I want enough to do what I want to do and not a dime more. The best part of that statement is that, at my ripening old age, I don’t really want to do all that much anymore…ergo..no sacks of money needed.
I probably would ‘experiment’ if I had gobs of dough. I’d maybe build or start an OTG village out here, for instance. Or I might run a teen outdoor school for international students so that they could all mix and meet up. I would do some good work, I guess. But, for me? Nothing.
The second part of the question: ‘influencing people’….oh, yeah! I’d like that. I’d like to help shift thinking, change the ways of doing some things, instill some values and morals…you know, Disney-esque kinda stuff.
If I won gazillions right now, I would just do good work. But, if I was rich from the get-go, I’d be a major puke. Like Trump. Maybe worse. If I was rich and good looking, I’d be the horriblest person on the planet. Making me poor and ugly with a lousy personality shows God’s wisdom.
Thanks for the warning.