Fake News and the Cascading Ennui

Fake News and the Cascading Ennui

Once upon a time, journalism was viewed by many as an obnoxious, yet absolutely necessary facet of democracy. Weeks, months, or even years were dumped into stories that brought to light the worst aspects of humanity or the depraved depths to which governments would sink in order to maintain a crooked grip upon power.

As the decades came and went, this cornerstone of democracy began to evolve. It grew and morphed, picking up the tumors of reality television and using them to grasp hold of the seemingly intangible nature of a society’s whims that rapidly adapted to a culture based on information saturation. You could no longer grip a person or a movement with a single, fierce goal. Now the target was a different set of metrics: click-through-rate, bounce rate, kitten-to-bunny-ratios, etc.

We entered the world of soundbites and clickbait so rapidly that we never even realized we were there. One day, you’re trying to crunch your thoroughly thought-provoking thesis into a 140 character tweet and the next you’re tossing out a flaccid: “Trump can’t even maintain his own credit. How’s he supposed to run the country? Sad.”

Everything has been broken down into snippets that fit on a screen as the scroll across the bottom of a news show that discusses the “reality” of “global cooling” because a tiny sample set of data can be manipulated into tricking stupid people into not caring about the environment.

Why worry about what the world will be like in 20 years–yes, 20; not 100, not 1,000–when they can get gas for $2.45/gallon and there’s still snow? Albeit, there’s not nearly as much snow as there was three years ago. Okay, and maybe it keeps snowing and then immediately melting. I mean, it’s because of that El Nino thing, right?

No, you idiot. El Nino is over. El Nina is here and it’s *supposed* to be colder, not warmer. We should be sitting inside around fires with hot chocolate and planning sledding plans, not planning the next hiking trip since it’s only a little muddy outside.

This world we live in is turning very rapidly into a horrid mess because there is a fundamental misunderstanding as to what “truth” and “facts” mean. There are people who truly believe that there can be a difference in what is “true” based on your “opinion” as it pertains to an objective reality. They believe that “objective” and “subjective” can be swapped when discussing “facts” about our rapid goose-stepping into a future where only a fraction of the landmass remains habitable. They throw down subjective “facts” about their faith and apply those to people who don’t share those beliefs.

Maybe it’s the human mind’s willful interpretation of anything that it can’t perceive immediately as a falsehood. Maybe it’s that long standing, evolutionarily designed crutch that has made humanity so resilient in the face of adversity throughout history, that finally brings us to our knees.

In the end, it’s that determination and inflexibility that is humanity’s tragic flaw. Why change when you can force your ideals down someone else’s throat? Might *is* right, after all?

Then again, perhaps all isn’t lost. If inflexibility is humanity’s tragic flaw, then the opposite is also true. For every person who stands resolved in their falsehood, there are three who adapt and work around them. These are the people who will continue to inhabit an Earth where there are new coastlines. They’re the ones who will walk, heads bowed, as they move under a regime that denies them basic human rights. These people will figure out a way to pay for medical bills that threaten to overwhelm and destroy them.

These are the people who will inherit the Earth. We the people, so to speak.

Hm. Maybe there’s a little prophecy in that book after all. Or maybe it’s just the way of things.

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