Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fascinating Exchange

I came across this exchange earlier today, and have been thinking about it all morning. To recap: There was an article published stating that the Thai government, criticized for not giving much to Haiti earthquake relief, had donated several thousand bottles of skin-whitening cream. The outrage, as you might imagine, was considerable. Trouble is... it’s not true. That site is a satire site, like The Onion, only aimed pretty much primarily at satirizing a particular Thai newspaper. (it has other articles entitled, “Kim Jong Il’s Pancreas Sent To Labor Camp”, “Man Reduces Carbon Footprint By Dying Young”, and “U.S. Torture Memos: Detainee Forced To Eat At Cracker Barrel 83 Times In One Month”. Some of them I thought were pretty funny, most of them fell flat for me.)

What really stuck in my head, though, was the lengths to which the commenter had to go to persuade her friend that no, the story really was fake. The story itself is hard to believe... but if you’re ready and willing to think the worst of people, it’s not too hard to accept, especially when the story is stripped of context. Now, I like this particular exchange because, having seen many others like it, this one is sadly the most surprising because of how impressively civil these two people are to each other, even though they must have each found the other person maddening.

Money quote:
Until and unless I am proven otherwise, my stance is that the original source of that piece was either removed or corrupted due to the sentivity/controversy it could generate.

I do not know what is "legitimate" on the internet when every Dick, Tom and Harry can use the internet to publish "news."

While that last sentence is a valuable insight, it seems to me that this person makes exactly the wrong conclusions from it. Their statement appears to me to boil down to, “I will believe anything I read that confirms my personal biases.” Which does not make this person much different from most other people on the internet, just more up-front about it!

I will do my best to think about this next time I see something on the interwebs that outrages me -- do me a favor and try to do so too?

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