Say It With Me: Birds Aren’t Real

It kind of makes sense if you think about it hard enough.

A few months ago, I was at the grocery store and I spotted a young man wearing a T-shirt that said, “Birds aren’t real.” I was intrigued, but then, as often happens with me, I got distracted by something shiny. I soon forgot all about it.

Then, on the way to work recently I was listening to The Daily on NPR. (It’s a fascinating podcast. I highly recommend it.) On this day, the topic was “A Movement to Fight Misinformation… with Misinformation.” And it was about the Birds Aren’t Real movement.

After learning more about it, I have to say that I am hooked. If you go to the Birds Aren’t Real Website, you’ll find the following description of the movement:

“The Birds Aren’t Real movement exists to spread awareness that the U.S. Government genocided over 12 Billion birds from 1959-2001, and replaced these birds with surveillance drone replicas, which still watch us every day. Once a preventative cause, our initial goal was to stop the forced extinction of real birds. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful, and the government has since replaced every living bird with robotic replicas. Now our movement’s prerogative is to make everyone aware of this fact.”

If you go to the page that describes the movement’s history, you get a detailed manifesto. It describes a federal conspiracy to root out communists that ran amok, and has been getting even more amok since 1947. It explains that we entered the Vietnam war to have access to the aluminum that we’d need to make these drones. It reveals that Trump wanted to build a wall not to keep immigrants out, but to keep live birds out. He was relentless in this pursuit.

There’s also a lot of cool merchandise, called “Truther Gear” you can get to spread the word. Slogans such as “Pigeons are liars”, “If it flies, it spies”, and “Bird watching goes both ways” are some of the very popular selections.

The movement has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Its founder, Peter McIndoe, was surprised how quickly it took off. But not so surprised that he wasn’t willing to quit college and hop on this feathered gravy train. Who could blame him?

He even has a van dedicated to the cause. On the side it says, “THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MURDERED OVER 12 BILLION BIRDS OVER THE COURSE OF 1959 THREW 2001. AS THEY KILLED OFF THE REAL BIRDS THEY REPLACED THIM WITH SURVEILLANCE DRONE REPLICAS. INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM A BIOLGICAL BIRD. THERE ARE NOW NO REAL BIRDS LEFT.”

Breaking character for once, he spoke to the folks at the Daily, and said that one day he noticed a protest and a counter-protest going on. It was full of chaos and absurdity, and neither side was listening to the other. He decided to add to the absurdity by contributing some of his own. He made a poster that said Birds Aren’t Real, and footage of him earnestly shouting about a “birdemic” at that rally soon hit Youtube.

Followers now call themselves the Bird Brigade, and have started showing up at protests to speak their mind. They showed up at Twitter headquarters to protest their logo. They’ve done rallies on college campuses. (Campi?) They showed up at an anti-abortion rally, waded in amongst all the pictures of aborted fetuses (feti?) and made so much noise and had so much fun that the anti-choicers finally left in sheer frustration.

I love that they are diffusing hate with comedy. I love that they’re smothering misinformation in even more misinformation. This tweet just about says it all:

If you join this group. You’ll learn all sorts of useful information, such as the fact that you really need to avoid seagulls, because they’ve recently been upgraded and can now steal your credit card information by just looking at you. You’ll learn that those chem trails actually consist of poison gas used to get rid of the last of the live birds. And did you know that bird poop is really a liquid tracking device? No wonder it seems to gravitate toward our windshields. Big Bird is watching you.

Those who don’t join the movement are called “Cheeple.” They are told, “You’re either with us or you eat worms.” So be warned. Don’t be on the wrong side of history.

McIndoe theorizes that this movement is so popular with his fellow Gen Z members because, having been born between 1997 and 2012, they have known nothing but political chaos and unrest. They’re feeling isolated, longing for community, and they have an intense desire to have some semblance of control over their lives. These feelings are exactly why most people buy into a conspiracy, and if you insist on doing so, I can think of no better conspiracy to buy into than Birds Aren’t Real. (And incidentally, if you’re into Facebook, join the Bird’s Aren’t Real Facebook Group. It’s hilarious!)

Because, you know, it kind of makes sense if you think about it hard enough. 😊

I hope that the Bird Brigade is descending upon the trucker rallies in Canada. This group of anti-vaxxers and haters have befuddled Canadians. Ninety percent of the eligible Canadian population has been vaccinated, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to be so selfish and foolhardy as to not do so. But these rallies are going strong, because they’re receiving funding from the radical right in the US. The protests soon filled up with confederate and Nazi flags and other symbols of hate. And, of course, Fox News is exaggerating the size of their presence and influence.

In fact, the Canadians are so unamused by this that all the unions in the country recently released this joint statement:

“What we have witnessed on the streets of Canada’s capital over the past thirteen days is something different altogether. This is not a protest, it is an occupation by an angry mob trying to disguise itself as a peaceful protest.

“We have seen an occupation of city streets and parks, disrupting workers, businesses and residents. Frontline workers, from retail to health workers, have been bullied and harassed. We have witnessed noise attacks keeping families up at all hours. We have seen right-wing extremists spreading messages filled with racism and intolerance, flying the Nazi and Confederate flags, alongside other symbols of violence and hate. We have seen organizers not only demand the end of all public health rules, but also call for the overthrow of our democratically elected government.

“The leaders of this occupation include people who espoused Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic and racist hate on social media, organizers of the notorious far-right yellow vest protests, and people spreading extreme conspiracy theories and calls for violence. This is an attack on all of Canada and not just the people of Ottawa.

“Canada’s unions stand together, unequivocally opposed to these vile and hateful messages and condemn the ongoing harassment and violence against the people of Ottawa.”

This statement from the Canadian Trucking Alliance makes it clear that they don’t support this protest either. Calling this a Canadian Trucker Protest is really rather unfair. The vast majority of them are not involved. There is only a tiny lunatic fringe who aren’t carrying on with business as usual.

This obnoxious protest is actually a practice run. They are learning how to create the type of chaos that will disrupt a democracy. They want to see how far they can go without getting arrested as they did on January 6th. And by “they”, I mean the financial backers of this debacle, with their nefarious agenda. The truckers are merely guinea pigs in this experiment.

Here’s hoping that Birds Aren’t Real shows up and holds up a big old feathered mirror to the truckers’ absurd faces so they can take a good look at themselves and withdraw with whatever is left of their dignity. Nobody is buying what those birdbrains are selling. Just ask the Bird Brigade.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Chaos Reigns

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

On January 15th of this year, my cell phone sprang to life. It was a message from my county informing me of a tsunami advisory. I’ve always lived near one coast or another, but this was my first tsunami advisory. It kind of set me back on my heels, to be honest.

The natural disasters I’ve had to deal with the most have been hurricanes, back when I lived in Florida. They move slowly. You get plenty of notice. Once you know a strong one is headed your direction, you’d be a fool not to get out of the way if you are able to do so. Sadly, there are a lot of fools in this world.

Tsunamis are a bit different, though. It’s really hard to determine the height they will reach when they hit land, and the closer you are to their source, the less notice you have. There’s no tsunami season, and anyone near water is potentially at risk. As far as I’m concerned, tsunamis are nature at its most raw and unpredictable.

According to our county’s Emergency Operation Center, this particular tsunami might not hit us at all, or it might be three feet high. That’s a huge margin of error. Naturally, my first thought was for myself and Dear Husband, but we were both well inland, and our house is high on a hill. While a mile-high tsunami might take us out, a three foot one would not. So I did my best to spread the word to friends and coworkers.

My next focus was to find out what the heck had caused this tsunami in the first place. When I saw the aerial photography of the massive volcano eruption near Tonga, I was horrified. Those poor people probably didn’t know what hit them. Their islands would be devastated, both from the water and from the ash. This kingdom is so small and remote that most people, including me, rarely give it a thought. But we’re talking about more than 100,000 people with absolutely nowhere to run. This was going to be bad.

Satellite images from JMA show the volcano eruption in Tonga on Jan 15, 2022.

But in the following days, all hell broke loose a work, the pandemic raged on, I came down with strep throat, and became increasingly muddled in my thinking. I sent a snarky text to a friend who understands my humor, only to discover that I had accidentally sent it to someone who barely knows me, and was sure to misinterpret the message. I was mortified. She was gracious about it, so all I can do is hope it didn’t irreparably damage our brand new friendship, because I really do like her and her husband a lot.

I also watched as my democracy continued to crumble, as evidenced by the erosion of women’s rights and the steady chipping away of everyone’s ability to vote, all while our environment circles the drain. Covid tests have been hard to come by, fools are still not getting vaccinated, putting us all at risk, and I am feeling misunderstood, unsupported, and exhausted.

So, I’m ashamed to say that when I saw this article about the desperate state of Tonga after the eruption, I realized that I had forgotten all about this crisis. And it had only been five days. What the hell is wrong with me? (Well, yeah, strep throat. But, I mean, besides that.)

It’s so unlike me to forget things like this. I genuinely do my best to help others when I can, as so many people have helped me along the way. But this horrific event had popped out of my mind like a soap bubble.

And then I realized what it was. Chaos.

The reason people make up and spread conspiracy theories is so that they can watch everyone else scrambling around in a panic, while they make great strides toward their own agenda. Unfortunately, that chaos can have dire results. It can do even more than divert your attention from what really matters.

For example, convincing people that public health should be politicized and that vaccines are dangerous and/or an assault on your freedom results in the deaths of the most vulnerable amongst us. And while the rest of us try to talk sense into these manipulated people, others can be above it all, trying to destroy our democracy and wring as much money out of the world as possible without any resistance from us.

In this era of unfiltered social media, you can create chaos in a wide variety of ways. You can incite insurrections and block desperately needed legislation. You can convince people that immigrants are the sole source of our problems, that they’re the enemy, that they’re going to steal our jobs and rape our white women. You can refuse to fill critical governmental positions, or fire people once a month to deprive governmental protection agencies of their continuity.

Chaos allows the convincers to scurry around in the background, raping our environment for maximum profit, widening the wealth gap to an unprecedented degree, and creating a supreme court so biased that our laws won’t reflect the will of the majority of the people for many generations to come.

With all this going on, we forget the “minor details”, such as the total devastation of a distant island nation, or the total devastation of our human rights. We can’t work up the energy to maintain the proper level of concern about anything. And that is exactly what the people in power want.

Once you start looking for chaos, you spot it everywhere. (There was never any critical race theory being taught in public schools, folks. Not ever. It’s a distraction.)  “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

We are turning against each other, rather than uniting to put a stop to the corrupt, evil people who are pulling our puppet strings. And it appears that a great deal of us are quite content to suckle on a steady stream of sugary misinformation as the world crumbles around us all. When this era is studied by future historians, it will be considered the beginning of a very dark age; one in which things took a drastic turn for the worse. They will most likely still be trying to dig out from under our rubble.

Surely I’m not the only one who finds that terrifying.

If you would like to help those suffering in Tonga, please check out this article for legitimate sources of support.

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My Fruitless Debate with an Anti-Vaxxer

I had to try.

A friend whom I’ve always highly respected nearly died from COVID-19 recently. He lost 75 pounds and was in the hospital for two weeks, part of that time on a ventilator. His wife was in a hospital room nearby, going through the exact same thing. You guessed it: They weren’t vaccinated. Fortunately they survived, much to the shock of their medical teams.

To make matters worse, he has lost his government job because proof of vaccination is now required. He’s under the impression that he has a chance to get it back, but as they are no longer accepting religious exemptions, I know he’s out of luck. And he was great at that job. He loved it.

This is a wonderful man whom I’m happy to call a friend, but we’ve always studiously avoided talking politics or religion, because I think we both instinctively knew that we are polar opposites when it comes to those topics. And because I value his friendship, I did my best to hold my tongue about this. Truly, I did. But the other day my crashing disappointment with his ill-informed and nearly deadly choices bubbled to the surface, and I found myself incapable of keeping my mouth shut.

You already know how this turned out. I did not change his mind one whit. And I’m quite sure I went about everything the wrong way, but I had to try.

In essence, it felt like I was trying to deprogram someone who had been a member of a destructive cult for years. Needless to say, I have no training in this arena. He kept texting me misinformation and I was able to debunk every single thing, point by point, with readily available facts. I read the information on the links he sent me in order to debunk them, but I’m fairly certain that he didn’t click on any of my links, because he did not want his mind to be changed.

Oddly enough, I totally get that. Think about it. If he were to come to his senses at this point, he’d be forced to admit to himself that he and his wife nearly died, and he lost his dream job, due to his own foolish choices. He’d also have to conclude that his religious and political leaders do not have his best interests at heart, and he has been duped. His entire worldview would have to fundamentally change. That would be a very hard pill to swallow. I wouldn’t want to be in that position.

He started off by saying that God told him not to get vaccinated. I wasn’t going to get into a religious debate with the man, so I let this point slide, but I’m fairly certain that unless God showed up at his kitchen table, sandals and all, and chatted about the subject over a cup of tea, he didn’t say a word. If the God of my understanding were to encourage me to put my life, and the lives of others, at risk, I’d have a hard time with that. And if that same God encouraged me to reject science, when he theoretically was the one to give us brains for the scientific research in the first place, I’d be done with him. My friend is mistaking the word of his misguided preacher, along with a heaping helping of misinformation from Fox News and a steady diet of confirmation bias, for the word of God.

This makes me really sad, because he’s an intelligent man. I truly believe that. But somewhere along the way he never quite acquired critical thinking skills, and then was taught that blind faith is superior to any thinking at all. Beware of anyone who tries to teach you that.

He kept sending me links from obscure websites, and their articles had no confirmation or validation from any credible source. I kept asking him to provide multiple sources, and he couldn’t. For me that would be a red flag, but he was too busy being blindly faithful to see it.

He also said he had natural immunity now, so he didn’t need the shot. I sent him a report from the CDC that says that “unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus.”

I’m sure that fell on deaf ears. He has been told not to trust the CDC, and since he’s faithful and unquestioning, he is unable to see why that’s a horrible idea. I’m quite sure he thinks that vaccinations are a part of some huge liberal conspiracy. Never mind that 163,000 unvaccinated Americans have needlessly died since June per the Kaiser Family Foundation, and all the hospitals are overwhelmed. Minor details.

Next, he hit me with a link from a website that is so suspect that I won’t even provide the link here, for fear that you’ll be overwhelmed with spam and malware. In fact, when I did a google search asking if this site was legitimate, I discovered that Scam-detector.com gives it a score of 26.9, based on a 1-100 scale, with 100 being the most reputable.

But the article says that 317 athletes have had cardiac arrest and 170 of them have died after taking the shot. The article comes with a really sketchy video that shows athletes collapsing during games all over the world. I watched this video. It shows different news reporters talking about athletes collapsing, yes, but it doesn’t show when these reports were done, and it cuts them off before they mention what the cause of the collapse was. It’s only the sketchy website that draws the conclusion that this is all recent and COVID related.

I pointed all that out to him, and also mentioned that my whole life, I’ve seen stories of athletes collapsing during games. It’s not particularly unusual. I also pointed out that this article is not only not confirmed by other news sources, but also that it is debunked by this article, which says that “there is no connection between COVID-19 vaccines and sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.” (And, incidentally, that website has a score of 85.6 from Scam-detector.com.)

For some reason I thought I could appeal to my friend’s under-exercised logic, too, so I pressed on. I said, “Even if that were true, it’s a small statistical sample. Let’s do the math. Using that small sample, all of us who were vaccinated would be having cardiac arrest, and 53% of people who get the shot would be dying. So far, 194,747,839 Americans have gotten the shot. If your sample were true, then 103,216,355 of us would be dead by now.”

No response to that. But then he said, “the VAERS websites for America and the UK are pretty informative.”

All right. I’ll bite. I hopped on over to VAERS, which stands for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, and which is, indeed, run by CDC (which shows that he’ll believe CDC if their reports are twisted enough to agree with his beliefs), and I could debunk him pretty quickly. VAERS is a passive reporting system, which means it’s not statistically accurate and the site itself reiterates that on nearly every page, saying that it’s not designed to determine if vaccines cause a health problem. In Addition, even a quick look at it on Wikipedia turns up this information: “As it is based on submissions by the public, VAERS is susceptible to unverified reports, misattribution, underreporting, and inconsistent data quality. Raw, unverified data from VAERS has often been used by the anti-vaccine community to justify misinformation regarding the safety of vaccines; It is generally not possible to find out from VAERS data if a vaccine caused an adverse event, or how common the event might be.

All this information seems rather convincing to me, but his only response was, “I appreciate and respect your opinion. I hope you’ll do the same with mine.”

That made me get tears in my eyes. He’s a decent guy. And while I do appreciate that he shared his beliefs with me, I cannot respect opinions that are so easily debunked, especially when it relates to people’s very lives. I just can’t. All I could say is that his coworkers would really, really miss him.

I suspect that will be the last time I hear from my friend. I am not going to try to force it. I’d still like to be friends, but I wouldn’t want to breathe the same air that he does, and that might make things awkward. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why republicans want to kill off their base. Their misinformation and their desire to make this about the rights of individuals, even though public health impacts us all, is, indeed, killing them. The statistics bear this out. Check out the graph below, and read this article for more details.

Public Health should NEVER have been politicized. It’s too important. And it’s way too easy to prove that vaccines are important. When’s the last time you saw a child die of Polio?

In recent days, even Trump has encouraged people to get vaccinated. Such is the dire state of this pandemic. He admits that he got two vaccines and a booster himself. So did Sean Hannity, the hypocrite. But they can’t unring that disastrous anti-vax bell. People have too much pride to admit they’ve been led astray. It’s heartbreaking that so many people will die needlessly because of it.

People who don’t get vaccinated are not only foolhardy, but they are also selfish. As long as they persist in their inaccurate beliefs, this pandemic will continue to rage on. The virus will continue to morph in those carriers, and people will continue to die, all alone, even as they assert their independence. It’s all so unnecessary.

Sigh. I’m so frustrated and disappointed. I’m so sad. And most of all, I’m tired to the very marrow of my bones.

Incidentally, my blog gets a 75.7 score from Scam-Detector.com, which indicates that it is “Standard. Valid. Common.” And more importantly, safe to use. It says it would have gotten a higher score if the site hadn’t ranked zero in popularity. Well, ouch. You guys need to start sharing my posts with friends!

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Doubt Tempers Truth

I enjoy those who fact check.

I am always surprised when someone gets upset when people ask questions. Doubt seems to make people very uncomfortable. They greatly prefer people who act purely on blind faith. Those people hear the rhetoric and swallow it whole, without an ounce of critical thinking. While that may make life easier for some, it’s why disinformation is on the rise.

Personally, I like it when people employ a bit of scrutiny. I enjoy those who fact check. If you take information seriously enough to determine that it’s accurate, that information increases in value.

As with steel, truth is tempered when it’s pounded on, and plunged into fire and water and then hammered yet again. Doubt tempers truth. That applies to religion, politics, current events, and everything else under the sun. We are all made stronger by this tempering process.

Never hesitate to do your homework. Question. Investigate. Learn. Then share what you’ve learned. We have brains for a reason. Let’s use them.

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Mean World Syndrome

People alive today have access to more news and entertainment than any human being in the history of the planet. If anything major happens in the world, we are all able to find out about it almost instantly. We’ve come a long way from the days when a hurricane could hit Long Island without any advanced warning for its residents. Surely that’s to our benefit, right?

Yes and no. We also have more access to misinformation and exaggeration, and our ability to think critically does not seem to be keeping apace. That means that many of us believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. This is called mean world syndrome, and it’s a serious problem.

If you don’t believe that your attitudes are shaped by the media, then you haven’t been paying attention. Without its influence, there’s no way that someone so deranged and unqualified could be in the White House. Without it, none of us would feel the need to keep up with the Kardashians. (For what it’s worth, I’ve never felt that need. But then, I don’t have a TV in my house, either.)

If it’s any comfort at all, according to this Public Radio International article, the world is a much safer pace than it used to be. War deaths have dramatically decreased. We just hear about them more often. We all work fewer hours each week. There is less poverty and homicide, and more democracy than ever before.

And this article from Psychology Today also states that violence against women and children has decreased worldwide. We are more likely to die of old age than in a hail of bullets.

And, lest we forget, the average life expectancy for the residents of this planet is now up in the 70’s, as opposed to age 48 back in 1950. That’s pretty remarkable, don’t you think? So stop what you’re doing, look about you, and breathe. It’s going to be okay. Odds are pretty good that you won’t encounter any lions or tigers or bears. Oh, my.

dorothy

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Why Do We Need Politicians Anymore?

The other day my dog jumped on me while I was in the middle of REM sleep. It felt like someone dropped a canned ham on me from a two story building. In retrospect perhaps it was a good thing, because it brought something to my conscious mind that had apparently been percolating in my subconscious. Under normal circumstances I’d have lost the thread of my dream-weaving upon awakening, but this was as if the door to my dream world was kicked in. By a canned ham.

Now bear with me, because this is a half formed theory, but the more I think about it, the more I like it.

For centuries, it made sense to have politicians. In a world that was predominately rural, in a time when it took days to travel to city centers and months to get news, it was only logical to have people who would represent you when it came time to make critical governmental decisions. Back then, even the electoral college actually made sense. Imagine that.

But it’s a different world now. In this technologically advanced age, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t all weigh in directly on every single issue that matters to us. One person, one vote, every issue. We could do away with congress entirely. Heaven knows they haven’t been doing much of late in any case.

Think about it. No more years-long election campaigns. No more tedious and warped political advertisements. No more gerrymandering. No more bribes. No more sex scandals. No more ignorant misogynistic rants. No more adding pork to various issues to satisfy a powerful politician’s personal agenda. No more unfair balance of power. Every citizen would have an equal amount of power.

What it would do, unfortunately, is give even more influence to the biased news outlets, because everyone would be trying to sway your opinion before you weigh in on various issues. The misinformation would be flying thick and fast, even more so than it is today if that’s possible. You’d really have to do your homework, and I doubt many people would take the time to do so. They certainly don’t seem to now.

And we’d have to figure out a way to deal with computer hacking.

Like I said, this is a half formed theory. Heaven only knows how we’d pass a budget. But wait. We don’t seem to do that these days anyway.

Here’s the scary part about this concept, the part that will make you blink. In order to switch to this type of pure democracy, barring violent overthrow, we’d have to gain the cooperation of the politicians who are currently in office. They’d have to, effectively, vote themselves out of a job. And they wouldn’t. We have given them all our power, and there is no way that they’ll ever let it go. No way.

I don’t know about you, but I find that rather terrifying.

congress

The Misinformation Movement

The other day I was perusing Youtube and I came across this video called The Eyeball Collector:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdaJRJFMty8

It says in capital letters, TRUE CRIME CASE, so I was taken in for a split second. But, as I’ve written in a recent blog entry, I am a bit of a sick puppy, so surely in all my twisted web searches I’d have come across a little girl who likes to collect eyeballs. I mean, how could I have missed that? So I did a Google search, and sure enough, the ONLY hit is for this guy’s video. And not a thing on Wikipedia, either.

I decided to look into this guy’s list of other videos. A lot of “TRUE CRIME CASES” popped up. These included “The Killer Santa”, “The Spam Murders”, “The Sofa Corpse”, and “The Lesbian Bride Murder”. Actually, they’re worth a peek, because once you figure out they’re bogus, they’re kind of fun to watch. The guy’s got the kind of warped imagination that appeals to me. But what disturbs me are the comments. People actually fall for this stuff! They think they’re true. He could have advertised them as jokes, and I’d still have watched them, and I would have had much more respect for him.

The thing is, this is becoming more and more of a trend. It’s so easy to communicate with the world these days that people with questionable integrity are taking advantage of it. We saw that, in particular, with Hurricane Sandy. Some bozo decided to tell the world that the New York Stock Exchange was under 3 feet of water, and that spread quickly through Facebook and Twitter, and before all was said and done, it was even reported on CNN. If it had been true, it could have had worldwide financial implications, so spreading that kind of bs is, at best, irresponsible.

I have even found myself unintentionally participating in the misinformation movement. I once posted a link to Sokoblovsky Farms on my Facebook page. For the uninitiated, this was a really cute prank web page for a supposed miniature giraffe farm. It even had a “live” webcam of its “petite lap giraffes”.

Petite Giraffe baby

I thought it was cute and funny, but I never in a million years expected that people would BELIEVE that there are actually miniature giraffes out there. Within 24 hours, half my friends list was desperately searching for a way to own one! Good grief. I had to explain, and then I felt horrible about disappointing them. It kind of makes you wonder about the gullibility of the internet viewing public. Now if you do a search of Sokoblovsky Farms, what you find is a lot of links to people asking “Does this place really exist?” So sad.

There are generations of adults now who have lived with the internet their whole lives. I fear that that will engender in them an unhealthy level of trust in this type of media. It takes a lot of effort to double check every fact you come across, but please, at the very least, go to www.snopes.com or www.factcheck.org before spreading misinformation. Not a week goes by without my receiving some hysterical, cautionary and FALSE e-mail in my inbox, which I am able to debunk through Snopes in a matter of seconds, but when I point this out to the sender, I rarely see them sending out a follow up e-mail that says, “oops…”.

Misinformation is easy to spread. I’d like to think most of it is unintentional. But it has to originate somewhere. If you’re an originator, thanks for the laughs, but SHAME on you.