John Deering offers a familiar take on a folk tale, though with a twist.
Variations of the story exist in several cultures, but the most familiar involves a young girl who is aided by a frog (or other animal) that then wants a kiss or, more often, to sleep in her bed.
Either way, when she is pressed to comply, it turns into a handsome prince and her fortune and happiness follow.
Deering’s variation shows the girl refusing the frog’s aid and thus cheating herself out of all the good that would have followed.
An important variation here is that, while the frog is now telling the truth and offering to help the girl, it has a substantial record of lying, which makes her refusal to embrace him even more understandable.
Barr began telling the truth when he was questioned by the Jan 6 Committee, though he had broken with Trump slightly earlier, over the election lies and Trump’s attempts to skirt the truth of his defeat.
Since then, he has become a willing font of information about the Trump administration, countering some foundational lies and insisting that Trump is unfit for public office.
But he says he’d vote for him again, which makes the American princess reluctant to trust his word.
In the Greek myths of the Trojan War, Cassandra is blessed with the gift of prophecy but cursed with the fact that no-one will believe her, the crescendo coming when she warns them not to trust Greeks bearing gifts and they ignore her warning, bringing the wooden horse inside their walls.
History is full of reasons that Cassandra’s story has lasted more than 3,000 years, though we prefer the happily-ever-after tale in which the princess embraces the frog and is rewarded, rather than the less cheerful one in which Cassandra is raped, abducted and murdered.
It doesn’t help to have created a system of information exchange which, as Joy of Tech says, is currently sinking into self-destruction.
This latest Twitter crisis is being decried as the end of the platform, and, though we’ve heard that before, things do seem particularly dire, despite Musk having recently hired a new CEO to reportedly lead Twitter out of crisis mode.
There are two stories at work here, and you may believe either.
In one tale, Musk purchased Twitter with $44 billion of his own fortune, but has proved incompetent to run it properly, making foolish mistakes while being distracted by indulging right wing fantasies.
In the other, he was staked in the purchase and is working under a plan to turn Twitter into a sounding board for those right wing fantasies.
But the horse is already within our walls, whatever may be hiding inside it.
As noted here before, I’ve curated the site such that it continues to be useful, blocking haters and extremists and autocratic nincompoops.
However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still out there, exerting their influence on people who haven’t blocked them and haven’t stopped listening.
And people don’t seem to listen. They should have been able to see the photos of Trump’s inauguration and clearly known that it hadn’t broken any records and, in fact, was a bit paltry.
But Kellyanne Conway insisted that it was a massive gathering, and described Trump’s fanciful headcount as “alternative facts.”
Seven years later, we are awash in alternative facts.
Some are alternative facts of our own breeding. Michael Ramirez (Creators) repeats a common misinterpretation of affirmative action, which has some roots in initial, clumsy attempts at achieving diversity.
These well-intentioned failures were abandoned as the system corrected, modified and developed, and became — as intended — one in which, having assembled a large, qualified group of applicants, the attempt to achieve diversity was factored among the other elements within that well-qualified group.
But not before those early shake-down efforts provided fodder for those who opposed diversity. The notion that affirmative action means admitting or hiring unqualified minorities is incorrect, but, if suggested honestly, it’s a misunderstanding, and could be readily overcome among people of good will.
The issue is at what point an honest misunderstanding becomes an intentional lie?
Rick McKee (Counterpoint) calls the Hunter Biden Whatsapp messages a “smoking gun.” The messages suggest nepotism and that the elder Biden — out of office at the time — would use his influence against anyone who did not do deals with his son.
But Hunter’s saying so is not evidence that any of it is true. Biden attorneys are pushing back against the purported evidence, and their denial doesn’t prove that Hunter didn’t say it.
But, even assuming the messages are genuine, they aren’t a smoking gun. They’re a clue.
Example: The fact that the men who broke into Democratic HQ at the Watergate had a notebook with Howard Hunt’s phone number in it was a clue. The tape in which Richard Nixon discusses payoff money for the burglars was a smoking gun.
There’s a difference, even in a world of alternative facts.
In that world of alternative facts, however, Steve Kelley (Creators) can simply say that attempts to link Trump to tax fraud, to soliciting election fraud or to attempting to overturn the confirmation of the 2020 election results are a partisan effort to “Get Trump,” while the real crime is in “Biden Corruption.”
McKee is claiming to have found a smoking gun when he hasn’t. But Kelley is simply making vague accusations. His ideas could start a discussion, but that conversation would have to begin with an actual example or two. Until then, there’s nothing to refute.
It’s puffery, and perfectly acceptable, if not particularly admirable.
But speaking of Trojan horses, Robert Ariail points out a case that may be just that.
That no third-party effort has ever succeeded in this is one reason to doubt their plan, while there are a number of examples of third-party candidates draining votes from a moderate candidate, the most striking modern example being Ralph Nader’s 2004 campaign, credited with shifting the razor-thin margin away from Al Gore and causing the election of George W. Bush and thus the Iraq War.
Another frog begging to be kissed, but this time perhaps loaded with bufotoxins.
And, as that treatment center cautions,