Musings

Fake News about Fake News

The news media loves pointing out “fake news” in order to differentiate their alleged “objective” and “fact-based” reporting from the outright hoaxes and propaganda being slung around social media. I came across this article in the Providence Journal, purporting to do just that. The article, however, reveals biases of its own, and shows how the so-called legitimate news media engages in propaganda to push their own political messaging.

The Journal headline reads: “Fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains,” which already is suspect. Are all Parkland teens villains to the far right, or just the ones who exploited a tragedy at their school to push a pro-gun control message? Is Cuban flag wearing, buzzed haircut Emma González representative of all teens in Parkland? Never mind that she intentionally projects an image designed to piss off conservatives.

That’s why I thought the photo of her wearing a Cuban flag was the doctored photo in question, but no, it’s a photo of her tearing up a paper target doctored to look like she’s tearing up the U.S. Constitution. Now I don’t doubt some people actually thought this was a real photo. I’ve seen some of my own friends on social media taken in by obvious hoaxes. But the photo is clearly political satire. I remember when Democrats used to edit President Bush’s face onto images of Adolph Hitler and Nazis. No one in the mainstream news media raised a big stink over that.

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On 104.9 The X with Kevin and Lori

Last week, hosts Kevin and Lori graciously invited me on their show “The Morning X”, 104.9FM The X in Rockford, to discuss my new documentary Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, now available on Amazon Video Direct! We talk about what it took to make the film and how everyone contributed to putting together such a great project.

Tinker’s Shadow is now available!

My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, is now available on Amazon Video Direct! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past?

Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. This 60-minute film features interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers. It is a fun and unique way to learn about Rockford’s past.

It’s available in HD to rent for $2.99, buy for $9.99, or watch free with ads. Click on the Amazon button below to watch:

Tinker’s Shadow Coming Soon

My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, will be released on Amazon Video Direct on March 26! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past? Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. Featuring interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers.

FOX39 in Rockford did a great interview with Steve Litteral and Samantha Hochmann of Tinker Cottage about the project. Check it out here: Amazon to debut documentary about Tinker Swiss Cottage’s haunted history

More Oprah Insanity

I wanted to continue to unpack Oprah Winfrey’s inane ramblings on Good Morning America. I absolutely cannot stand daytime television and its ridiculously simplistic and saccharine philosophy. Watching these audiences shrieking and screaming hysterically on command, forming cults of personality around people like Oprah and Ellen Degeneres, like the new American church, is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

In the course of telling people their highest calling in life was to “be themselves,” even if they were born a sociopath, I guess, she said this gem: “That’s why all the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world. That’s true. No matter what you look like.”

Huh?

“All the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world.”

So does that also mean “All the voices of the world mean something if your voice is not in alignment with all the voices of the world”? Or in other words, “if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world, all the voices of the world mean nothing.”

So is she saying everyone should just disagree all the time? There’s a general consensus around the world that murder is a bad thing, right? Unless you’re a terrorist. Surely we shouldn’t disagree with that?

Or if we all agree that you should treat other people with decency and respect, that becomes meaningless because we all agreed on it?

I’m not bringing this up to be snarky, and I don’t think Oprah is even arguing that. I think she doesn’t understand and/or hasn’t put any thought at all into what she’s saying. She just thinks it sounds good and it’s what her audience wants to hear.

If Oprah was just some guy on a street corner with a bullhorn spouting nonsense, it wouldn’t matter. But millions of people take her word for the Gospel (yes, I’m deliberately using religious terms), and just a few weeks ago there were people seriously talking about her running for president. And remember when she announced Barack Obama was “THE ONE”? Yeah, so maybe we should pay more attention to her insanity.

What does it mean to ‘be yourself’?

Oprah, just being herself

When asked her advice to young girls on Good Morning America, prospective presidential candidate and media mogul Oprah Winfrey replied, “The highest honor on Earth that you will ever have is the honor of being yourself.” She went on to add, “Your only job in the world, people think your job is to get up and go and raise money and take care of your families and stuff, that’s an obligation that you have but your only true job as a human being is to discover why you came, why you are here.”

When I was younger, I used to buy into this line of thinking. “Be yourself.” “Discover yourself.” “Discover why you’re here.” But if you start unpacking these ideas, they’re really just meaningless, and in the end, terrible advice. It’s the kind of thing you say to be utterly inoffensive and avoid taking an actual position or giving useful advice.

What does it mean to ‘be yourself’? Is every individual born with some innate purpose they need to discover? If so, how do you know once you’ve discovered it? Is it always good to be yourself? What if you’re a terrible person? What if the purpose you discover leads you to make bad decisions that negatively impact your life?

She continued. “Every one of us has an internal guidance, a GPS, an intuition, a heart print, a heart song that [speaks] to us. Your only job is to be able to listen and discern when it’s speaking versus your head and your personality speaking, and if you follow that you will be led to the highest good for you, always.” That’s crazy. People make terrible decisions following their hearts instead of their heads all the time.

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Worst Academy Awards in History

To no one’s surprise, most Americans decided not to watch a bunch of pampered, virtue-signaling millionaires pat themselves on the back at this year’s Academy Awards. With an average of 26.5 million viewers, it was the least-watched Oscars in history, down 19 percent from last year.

The raw numbers don’t even tell the whole story. 26.5 million viewers today are a lot smaller percentage of the population than forty years ago. In 1970, 43.4 percent of U.S. households tuned in. Forty-three percent!

What do you expect when literally hundreds of people in Hollywood knew about Harvey Weinstein’s outrageous behavior for decades, did nothing about it, or worse, helped to cover it up. Then they have the audacity to get up on stage for four grueling hours and lecture all of us about how we need to be more virtuous? Give me a break!

I’ve read plenty of excuses about how declining interest in the Academy Awards parallels declining interest in award shows or live events generally. That may be true, but do you really think an Oscars focused on entertainment, popular movies, and which was a reasonable length wouldn’t have pulled in a lot more views?

I guess I can only speak for myself, but I love movies and I’m staying away from the theater because it’s overpriced, the movies are crappy, and I’m constantly annoyed by having social and political messages shoved in my face in every film. So I have even less desire to watch an awards show in which everyone congratulates themselves over that sorry mess, and I think a lot of folks would agree.