Reality isn’t doing too well these days. I don’t know when exactly the seeds of suspicion were sewn, but they’re springing up crazy shoots everywhere—even in January!
I resisted paying any attention to the Manti Te’o hoax until tonight, then relented (no need for any “alternative” news sites for this one) and what emerges is a deeply layered, multi-character hoax that appears so intricate the mind balks at imagining who would do this, and why. Here’s an example:
“I talked to my girlfriend every single day,” Te’o told Themel. “I slept on the phone with her every single day. When she was going through chemo, she would have all these pains and the doctors were saying they were trying to give her medicine to make her sleep. She still couldn’t sleep. She would say, ‘Just call my boyfriend and have him on the phone with me, and I can sleep.’ I slept on the phone with her every single night.”
He would spend eight hours a night with someone, somewhere, breathing on the other end, he told Thamel.
Te’o recounted how his girlfriend who was “on a machine” after being in a coma.
“We lost her, actually, twice. She flatlined twice. They revived her twice,” he said. “It was just a trippy situation.”
Less layered, and certainly not a hoax, is the recent self-inflicted marketing wounds by Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey. The cognitive dissonance here is how far the CEO’s ideological slips deviate from the inclinations of his customer base.
In an interview with Mother Jones, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey shares his view that “climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad,” and his belief that “free-enterprise capitalism works much, much better than either socialism or some type of fascism where government controls and directs business—which is where I believe we are headed now.”
Mackey also used the “F” word—Fascism—in an interview with NPR, then had to walk it back, tail between legs, because he suddenly remembered the lucrative demographics his brand appeals to.
And that it can get real in the Whole Food’s parking lot, really quick:
Mackey acted confident on Morning Joe that his ideological stupidity won’t hurt his company. He’s probably right. Sustaining any kind of moral outrage is not something I expect stereotypical Whole Food customers to be capable of.
The saddest, most discouraging alternate reality gaining traction is the Sandy Hook Hoax meme. It took less than a month from WTF inconsistencies (that still bother me) to a full-blown theory perceiving the entire narrative as staged, including no actual dead first graders; the equivalent of no planes hitting the towers on 9/11.
It’s gotten so bad, a man who helped shelter 6 kids and a bus driver has been getting harassed by “Newtown truthers”:
“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?”
“The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” he said. So much so that a friend shields him from most of it by doing daily sweeps of the Web so Rosen doesn’t have to. His wife is worried for their safety. He’s logged every email and every call, and consulted with a retired state police officer, who took the complaint seriously but said police probably can’t do anything at the moment; he plans to do the same with the FBI.
While I have been watching the Sandy Hook skepticism evolve into a muddied pool of hashtag totalhoaxnuts, I simply can’t get all fired up for the opportunistic rush to blow serious political capital on gun control. Though I can’t find the tweet, I think it was @BobBrigham who speculated Obama’s gun control fight will invigorate the GOP, getting them back in the game by virtue of Dems poking their Fed-stick in the Repub crazy nest.
That may actually be the thinking behind Cantor’s strategic retreat, jettisoned into the news equivalent of a blackhole known as “Friday”.
House Republicans said Friday afternoon they’ll vote next week on a plan to raise the ceiling for three months. “Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement. “Furthermore, if the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, Members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job.”
That last part about pay, which probably isn’t constitutional (referring I guess to those quaint parchments some folks think we should give up on) is just a decorative paper tiger to soften retreat.
Meanwhile, gun froth will take the place of debt ceiling, and both sides will be whipped into a partisan frenzy.
Will the Obama Administration be in a stronger position three months from now, for the next showdown?
A lot can happen in three months; a lot more crazy shoots to come (2/11?)