Saturday, December 10, 2016


Fake news is not news. This is not news. Humorist Dave Barry had a phrase that he liked to insert in his columns that I have borrowed on occasion: "I am not making this up." This is a common device used by comedians and ghost story tellers who insist "This is a true story." As a person who has participated lightly in both these endeavors, I can honestly state that I have rarely, if ever, used the phrase, "This is all made up junk that I thought of in order to trick or amaze you into believing something preposterous."
You are currently looking at Al Gore's Internet. Maybe I should have started with that. This is where facts go to die. Or spawn and regenerate, combined with pieces of other facts that will eventually reappear elsewhere as "facts." Those quotation marks are important, since they are the only thing that distinguish reality from "reality," and truth from "truth." I say this as a person who was standing on the playground, watching kids in order to make sure that the basketballs didn't end up on the roof, when a colleague of mine approached and said, "Sylvester Stallone died." I confess that I didn't even tap the brakes. I went straight to, "Wow. Really?"
His replay? "Yeah. I just came up on my phone."
His phone, which we both took as an oracle of veracity. Why would his phone lie to him? Before you read another line, I feel compelled to let you know that as of this writing Sly "Rambocky" Stallone is still alive and doing quite well in spite of becoming yet another victim of the premature death hoax that is kicked around the web with some frequency. It was a busy day, so I didn't get back to check my oracle/access point until later in the evening. I was surprised to find a distinct lack of headlines about Mister Stallone. Instead, I was greeted with the news of Rashaan Sallam's suicide. The University of Colorado's first Heisman Award winner was dead at forty-two. Now I had a quandary. Should I believe this bit of web-based content, or should I assume that this was another hoax, perpetrated by some of the same minds that brought us the "Pizza Gate," which led to the attempted rescue of the child sex slaves run by Hillary Clinton and her aides by a true believer armed with an assault rifle. The good, real news in that one is that no one was hurt. Physically. I expect it may be harder to get employees to work the late shift at Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria for the foreseeable future, but then again, that establishment has just gained Internet Infamy.
If we can believe any of this.
But I'm here to tell you, this actually happened.  

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