Welcome to LairsAndFools.com where we try to keep up with all those big, fat stinkin’ lies that make their way around the Internet. You know the ones we’re talking about – the chain email from your dear Aunt Emma that claims that Obama is a Muslim, or the Facebook shared link claiming that Obama was born in Kenya.
You would think that by now people would have caught on and realized that they are being played for fools when they pass along these things, but apparently that’s not the case. These lies just keep coming and coming. Sometimes it seems like there’s an army of lies swarming towards us, and even thought it’s easy enough to pick them off one by one, they just keep creating clones of themselves and mutating into other lies, and the faster you shoot them down the faster they mutate. Good lord, that sounds like a bad dream, doesn’t it? If only that were the case.
There are, of course, plenty of web sites already that do an excellent job of debunking this stuff, e.g., Snopes.com, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com, but our intention is not just to expose lies, but to point out the things in the email or linked page that should have triggered your bullshit alarm. That and just have some fun with them. The hope (naive though it may be) is that people can learn to spot these things before they spread any further.
And now a word about words.
You may have noticed that we use the words lies and liars a lot. We realize that in polite society those words should rarely be used. You are supposed to be more euphemistic and say things like “incorrect” or “misleading” or “factually untrue”, but we’re tired of dancing around the obvious. These things are lies by even the strictest definition. They are statements that are untrue, the originator of the statement knows it’s not true, but they claim it as the truth to advance their own agenda. That’s a lie in my book, and the people who tell them are liars.
So what about “fools”. Liars need others to pass along their lies to their friends. The people who pass these lies along aren’t fools. In fact the folks who send these lies to me are people I know, and sometimes I know them well. Often they are very bright people and people genuinely concerned about the country and the world at large. Not fools at all. Perhaps a bit naive or gullible, but hardly anyone I would consider a fool. But that’s not how the people who originate these lies see them. They see this vast audience of Internet users as a sea of fools who will gladly pass along their lies to other fools.
So the next time you’re tempted to pass along some claim that you haven’t fact checked, consider what you may be doing. You are, I assume, a good, decent, honest person who would never blatantly lie to all your friends just to advance your own agenda. Nevertheless, when you forward one of these emails or share a posting, you become an accessory to a lie. You are allowing yourself to be used as a fool by someone down the chain who doesn’t care about the truth and feels that their agenda is more important than the truth.
Finally, a word about bullshit. That’s another word that should never be used in polite society, but there’s really no other word that captures the essence of what we’re dealing with. Baloney, or if you prefer, bologna doesn’t do it, and spelling it bullsh*t with an asterisk doesn’t hide what it is. So bullshit it is.