Yesterday Thomas Friedman in "The New York Times" wrote an excellent op-ed, "Too Good to Check" about the reaction-propagated canard that Obama's trip to Asia cost $200-million/day and involved 34 naval ships. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/opinion/17friedman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Friedman talks about how these "stories" start and how they get spread.
Later on I heard John Boehner assert that "America has the best healthcare system in the world" as if aphorisms made things true.
Everyday in advertising we hear our versions of these canards. "We must be on Facebook." "People don't believe in advertising." "No one reads anymore.""No one watches TV."
The speed as which these unchecked "facts" spread is rapid. Friedman quotes Mark Twain who said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Not much more I can say here. Except this.
I grew up in an era where we weren't supposed to trust anyone over 30. Now, it's best not to trust anyone. Question everything.
As I wrote almost back in September 19, 2007:
In "The Captive Mind", Czeslaw Milosz's memoir/essay/study about artists and intellectuals living under Communism in the early 1950s, he attributed the epigram below to an ancient Jew from Galacia. Makes sense doesn't it?
"When someone is honestly 55% right, that's very good and there's no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it's wonderful, it's great luck, and let him thank God. But what's to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever says he's 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal."