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CSotD: The Search for Truthiness

Matt Wuerker (Politico) starts us off with the Big Lie, which is that the 2020 election was fixed. However, that central lie is, like the cloud of smoke he draws, a form of pollution that spreads everywhere.

That is, it’s obviously bad that people believe the election was fixed, but the metastasizing evil is all the things they believe that go along with that central falsehood, undermining not just their faith in voting but in our entire society.

But here’s a moment of genuine gallows humor, by which I mean that Sidney Powell, in her attempt to get Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against her dismissed, appears to have perhaps marched up the steps and placed the noose around her own neck.

“Appears” and “perhaps” because IANAL and also because I’m not sure she could make the defense that Dominion is a public figure anyway.

But if she could have, she can’t now. The precedent for defaming public figures was established in NYTimes v Sullivan and calls for the defamer to know the thing said was false and to do it anyway, with “actual malice.”

Powell’s defense is that, yes, she knew what she said about Biden and Democrats and Dominion was blatantly false, but she was telling such preposterous lies that nobody should have believed her and she was only doing it because she hates them, which is okay because it was political.

The mind boggles and I can’t wait for Rudy and the Pillow Man to let us hear their defenses.

And be advised: I’m trademarking “Rudy and the Pillow Man” for future use, possibly a live-action mash-up of “CSI: Miami” and “The Tick.”

Check your local listings.

Anyway, it was nice of Powell to give us a bit of laughter, because her jaw-dropping nonsense wasn’t so amusing when her cult was in power.

 

Now if only I could feel comfortable buying Goya products again, which I don’t, though, unlike the folks in this La Cucaracha (AMS), I’ll use up what’s in the cupboard.

And if I were giving them to these fellows, the verb “fling” would come into it.

Goya’s defense seems to be that they know their CEO is a loudmouthed looney and they’ve said so several times, but he doesn’t pack the beans himself.

And Mike Liddell doesn’t stuff the pillows, either, but they both stuff the bags of money and I ain’t adding to either.

The topic of border walls bringing us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Matt Davies – AMS)

 

(Jen Sorensen)

Davies is right, but he’s also wrong, and Sorensen shines a light on the real issue, which is that we’re freaking out over something that does matter but not for the reasons or to the extent we’re being offered.

According to this analysis in the Washington Post, the “surge” is overblown and is substantially a predictable seasonal increase, bolstered this year by those who were delayed by the pandemic.

So Sorensen is correct, though Davies is not specifically wrong, because it’s still a crisis, or at least a major problem, and it could be handled better, f’sure.

But, sending you back to the Post, it is exacerbated by a White House Press Corps that is fixated on being reflexively oppositional to whoever is in power.

They should be “critical,” yes, absolutely, but in the formal sense of the word, analyzing what’s going on, and not in the casual sense of simply finding fault, which brings us to the Argument Clinic:

Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

In that linked column, Margaret Sullivan does a more complete takedown of how this topic is being covered:

She also notes, to my professional delight, that the people grilling Biden or, in his prolonged absence which ends today, Jen Psaki, are knowledgeable about politics but not about immigration.

Suggesting that perhaps we’d get better answers if the people asking the questions knew WTF they were asking about.

And, following that last link, I got a kick out this passage:

Though Biden gave his first prime-time address to the nation earlier this month, the 78-year-old has gone longer than any president in the past 100 years before holding a full press conference. 

Was that a math problem? Um, I guess the answer is 22. Can I get partial credit if I show my work?

Meanwhile, there’s more truthiness in our

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

 

(Dana Summers – Tribune)

Well, we all love vets and thankyouforyourservice, but, while I don’t know who put out the call that sparked this pair of false equivalencies, that’s all it is.

Biden is moving immigrants out of the holding cells and finding them more suitable places to stay while they are processed. And, yes, it costs money.

 

But he is currently spending more that 20 times as much on homeless veterans.

 

And, as it happens, we seem to be doing a pretty good job of getting them squared away.

Note that this is not a partisan argument. Those budget figures include efforts under Trump as well as the initial continuation under Biden, while the drop in homeless vets takes in both the Trump and Obama administrations.

It’s simply a case of truthiness, Stephen Colbert’s famous coinage, which has been defined as “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.”

Which includes cartoonists framing false equivalencies between refugees and homeless vets, as well as members of the White House press corps popping off at the daily briefings, as Margaret Sullivan puts it, “thinking about the 10-second clip of their question that might be used on Thursday’s newscast, establishing them as the star du jour who bravely challenged the president.”

There are differences in how different jobs are done. Cartoonists and satirists are expected to exaggerate, and, as noted, political reporters are expected to challenge. Absolutely.

But Sidney Powell is wrong.

“Truthiness” is a joke, not a defensible tactic.

 

I can’t embed Stephen Colbert’s explanation of Truthiness, but here’s a link to the video. It will be the best 2:30 of your day.

And that’s the truth.

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
March/25/2021
@ 9:25 am

“Rudy and the Pillow Man” is my favorite Cat Stevens album.

#2 Wiley Miller
March/25/2021
@ 10:22 am

If I’m not mistaken, “Rudy and The Pillow Man” was one of the obscure Dr. Suess books that were pulled (not “cancelled”).

#3 Brian Fies
March/25/2021
@ 11:21 am

William Conrad did some of his best acting in his series “Rudy and the Pillow Man.”

#4 D. D. Degg
March/25/2021
@ 1:26 pm

Thought it was a song off the first Traveling Wilburys album.
“And the walls came down. All the way to Hell.”

#5 Denny Lien
March/25/2021
@ 2:41 pm

“Rudy and the Pillow Man” are the two latest horror memes from Creepypasta. (“Slenderman” is SO passe in comparison.)

#6 Mike Peterson
March/25/2021
@ 2:43 pm

The Pillow Man is kind of like the Sandman, except for the part where you wake up again in the morning.

#7 Douglas Hawley
March/25/2021
@ 3:36 pm

The last thing the homeless industry wants is to end homelessness.

#8 Kip Williams
March/26/2021
@ 3:00 pm

“Repent, Rudy!” said the Pillowman.

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