The Sunday Sermon- Pete Holmes on Not Knowing (the glory of discovery)

This is a hilariously comedic critique of part of our modern condition. Enjoy and pass it on!

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

LAD online tip jar

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Please Vet Your Social Media Shares- Here is an Example of Fear Porn Bullshit

texas militia

Screen shot of the video link below

We all have them… Facebook friends who just lust after “Fear Porn.” You know, spooky stories with only a meme or link to a sketchy website for “evidence” of some new terrorist threat, food that will kill you, something that will cure cancer, or some other ridiculous news story.

Generally, when you examine the social media pages of these types of folks, you find a regularly watered tree of social media bullshit. They see no reason to vet anything. As long as it supports their particular ideology, faith, or political leanings, they post that new link for all to see. There can be a particular relish for Fear Porn with these types. They love to be seen as “in the know” among their social media peers and enjoy getting other people’s blood pressure elevated with their posts.

“What is ‘Fear Porn?” you may ask… My definition would be, “Bullshit stories on the Internet which are originally constructed by intentional liars and then shared like a virus by credulous people with a desire to make life seem more exciting artificially.”

Though, I do enjoy the definition on the Urban Dictionary website for comedic reasons:

“Fear Porn- Conspiracy theorist information used to generate sexual excitement in Red necks, religious extremists and dudes that live in their mom’s basement.”

I found myself considering the issue of Fear Porn sharing when I first logged on to Facebook this morning. A Facebook friend had shared a new “story” from another person’s page. It was a video with the caption, “Yesterday mexican police tipped off the texas melita that iSIS WAS GOING TO CROSS OVER IN TO TEXAS AFTER SUNSET. TEXANS SETUP A WELCOMING PARTY. 25,000 ARMED TEXANS MET THEM last night as they tried to cross. The ones not shot quickly retreated.”

The moment I saw the post, my skeptical antenna picked up the story’s BS qualities: no actual source cited, poorly constructed caption, original poster is some ‘Murican type dude trying to gain a following on social media the easy way. Believe me, he’ll pick the low hanging fruit with no trouble at all.

Here is a link to the original post. Be warned, it may not be up for long if the original poster catches too much flack over it.

Then, I clicked the video. Seconds into it, I thought, “Hey… this is just a video of the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in Kentucky!” I have never been there, but have known some people who have years ago. The event includes a night shoot where a bunch of people blast their machine guns into the hillside using tracer rounds.

For contrast, here is another video of the same night shoot from another person in 2006:

Here is the thing my friends; we live in an age where ANYONE and I mean AAANNNNYYYYYOOOONNNNEEEEE can use a re-edited video, a picture from some war or old news story, a photoshopped image, or create a quote meme to propagate total bullshit on the Interwebs. As a human, alive in the modern age, and on social media, you MUST become good researcher. You MUST employ an appropriate level of skeptical analysis. You MUST do your due diligence before sharing wild news stories and such. When bullshit stories and memes are shared, they contribute to the sum total of wasted time for and the dumbing down of your fellow humans on social media. Are there ever amazing stories, new discoveries, and/or staggering events that happen? Sure. But, thanks to irresponsible sharing on social media, the fewer true stories are made harder to find by the many fake ones.

It helps to have an epistemological foundation based on demonstrable evidence and reasoned logic rather than emotional whim, faith, and confirmation bias. In the digital media age, skepticism is the appropriate mode.

There are some great online tools which make sussing out Fear Porn bullshit easy: Google, Snopes, Google Image Search, and many more. They are free… please use them 🙂

Here are some memes that I created which relate to this issue. Please feel free to use them when confronting Fear Porn and other Interweb bullshit.

For credulous posters of BS who actually believe it…

Gandhi meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Gandhi meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

For those who quote mine, but particularly quote mine using fake quotes…

Abraham Lincoln meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Abraham Lincoln meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

For those who do not even bother to Google search before posting…

"Do you even Google" meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

“Do you even Google” meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

and my favorite for general purposes 🙂

Smokey the Bear Bullshit meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Smokey the Bear Bullshit meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

One Click on “Translate” and My Blog Becomes the Tower of Babel

Blogger-Logo

I have been in the blogging game for about nine months now. I absolutely love the ability to turn an idea, poem, essay, or news article into a web posting quickly for anyone to access. When I think back just ten years to what it was like when I was publishing my poetry only in chapbooks, the ability to publish instantly worldwide now is amazing to me. 

Since I started publishing my blogs on WordPress, I have had readers in over seventy countries all around the world. That is extremely satisfying and encouraging to me. As a writer, the ability to share my thoughts around the world is a precious thing. Hell, I’m still impressed by the telephone, so the internet is a damn wonder to me even in 2014. When I consider the capabilities that creative types have to share their work today vs. one short generation ago, it is staggering. Sharing our ideas with others around the world and visa versa is allowing us all to grow, be challenged, and experience new things. 

There is a story in the Bible about the “Tower of Babel.” As different tribes came together to build a tall building for unification, as the story goes, God was a bit worried about the capabilities that people would have if they worked together and had one language. So, He decided to go down and confuse their speech into different languages to hinder their progress and scatter them. See this link for a bit of history on that fable in the book of Genesis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

babel

Artist’s rendering of the mythical Tower of Babel

I would say based on the engineering ability of people back then, if the height of the Tower of Babel gave God pause, He is probably calling an emergency meeting in Heaven over the Burj Khalifa. Not only that, but the power of Goggle Translate is undoing the confusion brought on at the Tower of Babel. I speak figuratively of course, as I do not regard that Bible story as a historical event. But, it is worth mentioning for contrast and as a demarcation on the path of human progress. Thanks to Translate and other similar programs, the barriers of human communication are being broken down with a fury. I know the translations can be a bit quirky, but it’s a hell of a lot better than trying to read something in an language you don’t understand. 

burj

Burj Khalifa, the tallest man made structure in the world at 829.8 m (2,722 ft).

All that said, I will be taking advantage of the translate option on Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. Every new blog that I post on my WordPress site and a selection of some already published will also be on my new Blogger site. There is a Translate gadget right on the front page which will allow people all over the world not only to read my blogs, but have the option to read the blogs in their own language with ease. 

Please check out my new Blogger site at the link. Feel free to follow me there or on Google + and check out the Translate feature. 

http://lukeaustindaugherty.blogspot.com/