In just the past week, I’ve been bombarded with so many outrageous claims and patently made-up fantasies that I’m somewhere between headache and nausea.
Did you know that illegal aliens actually commit crimes at a lower rate than other residents—overlooking the fact that illegal entry is itself a crime, I mean? Of course, being illegal, many of this group don’t call the cops when they’re robbed, raped, or mugged in the barrio… but I’m sure that whatever study the professor was quoting to Tucker Carlson took this into account. Right?
High rates of Ruthenium 106 have been detected in the southern Urals… but, hey, Russia isn’t engaged any longer in the covert weaponizing of nuclear materials, and Jared Kushner’s chat with a Russian lobbyist remains a far greater threat to our security than Hillary’s Uranium One deal. Anyway, who’s to say that Greenpeace Russia isn’t lying as part of a Trump pay-off? Right?
Today I saw a video claiming that Native Americans have observed Thanksgiving as a day of mourning for centuries, and that the actual date marks the occasion of a massacre wrought by the Pilgrims upon their swart, dark-haired, fatally naive hosts. The narrator was a Native-looking young lass who truly seemed to be very distressed. Why would she lie?
All week I’ve been reading about our “greatest president”. No, not Barack Obama—the other one: Abraham Lincoln. He promised not to free the slaves as a candidate, his proclamation freed them only in the South and not in Unionist border states, he freed them then only to find more cannon fodder for his unpopular war, he had to siphon off precious troops to suppress draft resistance in states like New York, he smashed presses and imprisoned editors when newspapers in far-from-the-front Ohio and Indiana criticized his policies… but these are all just charges assembled by Southern apologists. I have it on the high authority of Glenn Beck, the official historian of Planet Earth.
A professional sportswriter penned something that crossed my bow yesterday. It argued that we might as well usher all the Steroid Boys into the Hall of Fame and waive the character criterion, because the Hall’s prior occupants are a bunch of bastards. Take Tris Speaker, who wouldn’t attend teammate Ray Chapman’s funeral because Ray was Catholic. Naturally, the argument made in Charles Alexander’s painstaking biography that Chapman was born Protestant and that, in any case, he selected Speaker to be best man at his wedding reeks of bias. I’m sure the no-name who has wearied of the Hall’s prissy “character” clause must have it right.
A certain relative at our Thanksgiving gathering launched a verbal tirade because my son beat her at chess. She insisted that knights couldn’t leap over other pieces when moved—citing an Internet source which actually undermined her position… but that was just our interpretation of the passage. And the Internet is always right, especially when it’s vague.
From the cosmic to the national to the trivial, I find myself wading through hastily stitched “facts” at every turn. What’s happening? Are we all losing our minds? Am I, perhaps, a psycho for thinking that the sun sets in the west?
No, it seems to me, rather, that we’re falling into a habit of rewriting the rules (sometimes literally) to whatever game we’re playing so that we personally come out ahead. And because I once thought that Putin could be trusted, and that Glenn Beck could be trusted, and that institutional or professional research could be trusted, I don’t think I’m the lunatic in this asylum. Why not? Because I’m capable of admitting error and changing my mind.
Here’s an exercise I recommend: think of three positions that you’ve had to surrender over the past year because the facts just didn’t support them. Can you do it?