I’m Lester the Nightfly
Hello Baton Rouge
Won’t you turn your radio down?
Respect the seven-second delay we use
So you say there’s a race
of men in the trees?
You’re for tough legislation
I wait all night for calls like these…
Donald Fagen nailed the whole jaded, java-jacked late night talkback disk jockey thing with his song, The Nightfly, didn’t he? Even that seven-second delay to guard against cussin’, libellous pronouncements and over loopy sentiments.
Trouble is, in a world of Trumps and Trumpalikes, seven seconds just won’t cut it. The germs of disinformation are being sprayed so thick and fast into the atmosphere that old management systems can’t cope. Once a lie has taken to the air it’s very hard to swat down.
This worries me.
All Bullgoose stories are 75-115% true. That is my (pretty much) faithful promise (aspiration). Probably.
So it galls my blood to see politicians, inflatuencers and frothing commentators cranking out lies like over-seasoned bullshit sausages from a poltergeisted butcher’s machine in a Stephen King novel.
The figures are in: inflation is up at 6.5 per cent. Lying is up at 125 per cent.
An overhead seagull guano bombs you with a heapin’ helping. You wipe it off, shake your fist at the airborne rat and walk on. But some people haven’t got a hanky, tissue or nearby tap and the guano sticks to them.
Similarly, a politician throws out a lie knowing it won’t stick to everybody. They know lots of people will reject it. That’s OK: they’re after the people it will stick to. The next deposit will stick even better.
Wexforde Brandish nailed it in French when he said, L’illusion porte des robes brillantes. Ou est la pure vérité? (Delusion wears bright robes. Where is the plain truth?). While true, this is puzzling because the only other French words Brandish ever wrote were café, grand prix and merde.
So, what’s to be done? There are some top notch fact-checking organisations out there, but unfortunately they have no standing, and they always have to play catch up with the jive turkeys.
It used to be that the facts were whatever the shaman/priest/mullah/emperor deemed them to be. These people had standing.
Then the courts got in on the act, but courts are oh so slow.
In jolly old 17th century England an enterprising fruitcake named Matthew Hopkins, in his role as Witchfinder General, made a lot of money touring the countryside identifying witches. His foolproof methods included ‘cutting’ a woman’s arm with a blunt knife, or poking it with a blunt needle. If she didn’t bleed she was a witch.
Hopkins also popularised the infamous ‘Chuck her in the pond. If she floats she’s a witch; if she drowns she’s innocent.’ method of discovering the truth.
At a shilling a witch, no wonder he made a packet.
Am I so wrong for wishing that the Trumps, Scomos and other fibbers had to submit to this sort of lie detectoring?
We’ve got to nip the lies in the bud. Stop them before they happen. Deterrence is key.
Establish a Court of Burning Pants. Liars would be referred to the court, where a strict Three Strikes policy applied. After the third lie the convicted porky-ist would only be permitted to speak in public, or online, if their mike was switched off and their speech was censored and relayed by an Auslan signer with an incredulous expression. Cop that, fibber!
Of course, there will eventually be a technological cure. In the meantime there could be FibCheck and PorkyPredict. I mean spellcheckers and predictive text already play merry hell with your sentences. They might as well rejig the fibs.
Original: Labor and the Greens will steal your weekend. Nobody makes electric utes.
Annotated: Labor and the Greens will steal your weekend. PANTS ON FIRE: UNFOUNDED ASSERTION Nobody makes electric utes. PANTS ON FIRE. YES THEY DO.
Final version: I am very worried about Labor and the Greens because they are taking climate change seriously. I am spending the weekend in Hawaii.
A lesson to us all.