….that this blog is a form of media. You know, social media?
It is, of course, but the implication of such a claim suggests that people read it and the blog has some kind of ‘influence’. Wrong. People do not read it very much (trust me. I see the stats) and, regarding those that do read it, I do not think for a minute that what they read is influential to them…..at least not politically, culturally, spiritually or intellectually. The blog is, basically, entertainment and is, perhaps, a bit revealing now and then of a personal slice of a micro-culture (life OTG).
Very small frog, very small pond, making no real noise about nothing much at all. I get that. It’s OK.
But, in a way, it is important to realize that even a small distraction like my blog eats up a piece of the reader’s attention….even if the content is so light that it is forgotten immediately. ‘Ya can’t read Dave’s blog and do brain surgery at the same time.‘ The ten seconds it took to read this far is ten seconds you will never have again!
I am part of the problem.
The problem is the resurrection of the BIG LIE.
But I have to back up a bit……..back in the last years of the 20th century I was on email a lot. Part of my work. And, because of that, I would be sent all the crap that was being widely distributed as well including cat videos, conspiracy theories, allegations, gossip and all sorts of misinformation and drivel. If I got 100 emails in a day, at least five were pure nonsense. I confess, I often read (watched) the email and attachment because well, out of curiosity and naivety, I guess. I saw some cats. I admit it.
But there was an emerging trend even back then. There were messages of discord and hate, lots of nasty memes about Muslims and institutions, Catholics and black people. There was a strong element of ugly being sent around as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ and ‘news’.
They were, of course, lies. But, until that time, lies were generally hidden, subtle, or disguised in polite society. They were there in the public square but they were kinda whispered and selectively shared with perceived or potential sympathizers. BIG LIES did not have a lot of purchase back then. There was a campaign of disinformation then that was noticed but not really reacted to.
If you got some email promoting bigotry or hate and you just deleted it. No biggy.
I worked with a guy who had a friend and he had shared with her my email address. She was a bigoted, ignorant, fearful, old woman who passed on every lie making the rounds. I would sometimes Snope the content of her poison and (because she included her whole mailing list) would send out a semi-verified disclaimer to her crap. I only did it because ‘For evil to be done, good men only need do nothing’. A quick rebuttal to her audience and I was back focusing where I should. Ugly Betty was good for at least one bitter, hate-meme a week, sometimes two. Took five minutes to research and debunk and I was free until the next time.
My rebuttal had no effect on her, naturally, but maybe it influenced some on her email list. I do not know. That is not the point. The point is that her kind of dis/misinformation is what has emerged as a major force in our culture today. She was a harbinger. Today’s public square is filled with large, loud lies and misinformation and the increasing growth of general evil is the result.
Mayhem? Chaos? Armed insurrections? Hmmmm….even the spread of a disease?
Q-Anon, OAN, FOX News, Glen Beck, ex-Rush Limbaugh and the list goes on and on and on. The Liars Club. And it is growing. Nowadays we do not have lies being secreted and whispered in the dark corners of the public square but being broadcast and given some weird kind of credence. The gullible and ignorant cult believes it all! Trump says a blatant, bald-faced lie in front of millions and, it has been revealed, most of the time his followers KNOW that he is speaking at least a debated point but many know much of what he says is just total fabrication. Pure lies. But the guy still gets air-time! He gets followers. He is an influencer. He is the Prince of Lies.
Within one generation (20 years) the LIE has emerged as a powerful force in our society. Lies now seem to have credence, power and influence. How did that happen?
Partly it was because of the information explosion as a result of computers, Google and the like. So much was coming at the viewer/reader/consumer, they simply did not have the time nor the inclination to fact check everything. To be fair to them, they never previously had doubts about the veracity of the ‘message’ they were getting from their news sources either. Their lie detector was not in good tune due to lack of use. They believed the local paper, the CBC, NPR or other MSM mostly because the sources were limited and large and had history. We all relied on the news industry for the TRUTH.
But ever since Marshall McLuhan, those sources became a smidge suspect, too.
Then along came SOCIAL MEDIA and the so-called news was more quickly and easily dispersed by way of Facebook, Twitter and the ‘unverified’ content providers on every topic under the sun. Anyone could claim a piece of the stage! And they did!
It is NOT a coincidence that Fox News launched just over 20 years ago (1996). By the year 2000 it was force to be reckoned with. Fox was launched at the beginning of the age of the LIE. Fox is a parent of the BIG LIE. It is no coincidence that Donald Trump launched himself as a potential candidate for president at the same time (official date: 2000).
I noticed the lies back then. But not their power. Not their influence. I dismissed the phenomena as merely a small number of crazies like Ugly Betty. Rupert Murdoch (Fox) and Donald Trump knew in their black souls that a new highway to the hearts and minds of America had just been opened. They saw the opportunity and they went for it. We are now living in the Information and Disinformation Age and, it seems, we are bereft of the wisdom to know the difference.
Presciently timed (1998) was a book written by Scott Peck titled: People of the Lie. “People who are evil attack others instead of facing their own failures.” That book changed my life, too. It gave a glimpse into what constituted evil and how it happens. Hint: unconsciousness and ignorance are major ingredients. I highly recommend it (it is a bit odd, though–Peck is deeply religious) especially in this time of increasing lies.