Mueller Report

Being several thousand years old (I forget my exact birthday) I can sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between true reporting and satire. Therefore, without deciding which this is, I share it with you.

New Attorney General William Barr is at risk of losing three stars and being demoted to Attorney Brigadier General after a flurry of lawsuits have been filed in response to his handling of the Mueller Report. While there were protests over Barr’s four page synopsis to a document that is reported to contain over 400 pages, no one foresaw recent developments.

Readers’ Digest filed suit against Barr for copying, without permission, their popular Condensed Books style that was first published in the early 1950s. Many people used Readers’ Digest Condensed Books to experience popular literature without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time actually reading. No sooner had the Justice Department been served with a cease and desist order (and President Trump had tweeted, “Totally exonerated! No confefe! WHICH HAUNT!”) than the second of three shoes dropped.

Cliff’s Notes, a popular study guide, that has been published in the United States since the late 1950s argued that the truncation and radical editing performed by Barr was more like their system than Readers’ Digest’s. “Every student,” they protested at a frantically scheduled press conference, “knows that they can turn to Cliff’s Notes as a concise, terse, minimalist synopsis of traditionally assigned readings.” When asked if Donald Trump ever used their product, the press conference was abruptly halted.

An industry insider anonymously provided additional information . “With Readers’ Digest Condensed Books, it is still necessary for the customer to read dozens—if not hundreds–of actual printed pages. Cliff’s Notes, on the other hand presents lengthy classics in a format that can be read–cover to  during a single visit to the bathroom!”

In the meantime, the same industry source tells us that Classics Illustrated is in negotiations with the US Government Printing Office to reproduce the Barr version of the Mueller Report in four-color comic book format. Classics Illustrated hasn’t published in years, but is prepared to print this special edition because it appeals to those who prefer to never read real books.

Neither Cliff’s Notes nor Classics Illustrated would provide specifics as to the length of their proposed publications, except to say that they would be “more than four pages, but less than 400.”

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Mob Mentality

There is a phenomenon in which people who normally know and adhere to their values change when in the company of an emotionally charged group. Over the past millennia, I’ve seen it far too often. Call it “peer pressure”, “groupthink”, or “mob mentality”, it doesn’t matter.

Since most people in your time are not scholars of history, I won’t use an obscure example, but one with which most of you are familiar. Nevertheless, the same interaction has recurred time after time–the living do not learn, so it is up to those of us who are gone to explain.

In an ancient land with no BBC, no cable, no wi-fi, a man approaches a village. A murmur passes through the crowd. “This is the ONE that we’ve been waiting for! He is the one!”

The people run together and a crowd forms and welcomes him. “Hail to our hope! Hail to our future! Hail to military victory!”

But it is not Alexander, or Caesar, Hitler, or Stalin. It is an itinerant teacher who has asked for nothing; who has accepted only a place to sleep and a shared meal.

As he approaches, the people line the streets.

“You are what we’ve prayed for! You are the best–Holy, Holy, Holy (holiest, the third order of holy). We wave palms over your head! We lay our cloaks for you to walk over. You are THE one.”

A few days later, in the middle of the night, a kangaroo court is held to condemn the same man to death. The mob, this time, cries “Crucify him.”

Was it the same people?

Think.

 

 

Fact and Fiction

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

If something is a reasonably accurate representation of reality, it is a fact. As humans, we’re incapable of observing, remembering, and then stating any event with 100 percent accuracy, even though most people try.

However, if you tell a lie, that’s what it is.

If you repeatedly tell a lie, it remains a lie.

If you get a million people to repeat your lie, it still remains a lie. It does not become a fact.

You may be able to kiss a frog and have it become a prince, but a lie is a lie is a lie.

It’s not a difficult concept, so why do so many people find it impossible to understand?

Are You Being Targeted?

I’m glad I died long before humans and computers began consorting. I never claimed victory in my search for an honest man–although, then again, was I honest when I said I was searching?

In any case, in your time, Facebook, video games, Twitter, and the computer thingie du jour draw you in like flies to a jar of honey. Even worse, you go willingly. Pity.

What if they worked together–or are working together? Google and Amazon know what you want. Facebook knows almost everything else.

But, what if one of the search engines or bots (they’re really the same) tracked your ability–or inability–to separate fact from fiction? If you readily believe the various conspiracy theories without adequate facts to support that belief?

There would be lots of money to be made by selling lists of such people to advertisers, scam artists, and (of course) all of the Nigerian Princes who are trying to get their inheritance.

Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault. Fool me three times and I’m an easy target.

Hey! This magic potion will make you rich!