Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Macedonians Are Coming! The Macedonians Are Coming!


Maybe you saw it. The week before the election, a news story went viral. "FBI AGENT SUSPECTED IN HILLARY EMAIL LEAKS FOUND DEAD IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE," it read. The story was from the Denver Guardian, which does not exist; the newsroom address is that of a tree in a parking lot; the accompanying photo was of a 2010 house fire; and, in short, the entire thing was grade-A star-spangled horseshit from start to finish, which did not prevent it from being stretched from one side of the internet to the other and back again.

I figured somebody had to be behind this plague. I imagined boiler-room operations under the direction of the Republican National Committee or MoveOn, busily churning out lies that people eat right up because they really piss them off, and it feels good. Yaaas. It makes them feel outraged, and righteous, and aroused. Ooh baby, baby!

Yup, it's porn. There's something for everybody: Hillary caught peeing on the grave of a Benghazi victim during midnight Satanic ritual. Hillary entertaining at private Wall Street gathering in blackface and a bunny costume. Trump inciting violence at rallies. Oh wait, that one's true.

When you see all this stuff being shared so promiscuously, you have to wonder: where is this coming from? And now we know: Macedonia.

Verily!

Macedonia? Well bless my soul. Better yet, rock it in the bosom of Abraham. Enterprising kids in Macedonia with mad graphics skills are pasting these things up out of stock footage and thin air and the open-source bullshit commons, and flinging them onto the internet, where the ad money piles up with each view. Yes, most of them were targeted to Trump voters. The kids don't care one way or another, except that those are the ones that really sell, because the liberal elites are more likely to check their sources before they share, I guess.

So, Macedonians! The Abysinnians are all Dude, and here I am slaving away in these call centers, and the Phoenicians can't even with this. Where the hell is Macedonia?

In fact, when is Macedonia?

Honestly, I had no idea. Last I heard of Macedonians, the apostle Paul was telling them that Jesus was the Messiah, and to spread the word. Maybe they told the Galatians, first, and second, some more Galatians. So spreading the word, any word, seems to be a national Macedonian pastime of long standing.

Anyway, my bad. I was never all that good at geography. You put me in the room with a bunch of piss-pants kids who know all the rivers in the world, and I'll, well--I'll challenge them to a spelling bee.  So I don't know where Macedonia is. Or, I do, because I just looked it up, but in another couple days I won't again.

I'll just go back to imagining that a bunch of goatherds with too much time on their hands put brush to papyrus and wrote stuff so compelling and prescient that it baffled a gullible society and brought down an empire two thousand years later. It makes as much sense as anything else.

34 comments:

  1. Thank goodness I don't read any of these fake news stories (And really... isn't most of the "real news" actually fake news, anyway?) because I stay away from the news, especially during this election. I read the paper, because I can self-censor, and I stay the hell away from anything that's likely to send me spiraling into a depression. I was quite bad enough this fall with just the snippets I heard and read in passing. If I had read/seen the other stuff, I'd probably be doing a cost/benefit analysis of pills versus razor blades.

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    1. Many people get most of their news this way. I have this hope that when Facebook (for instance) decides to crack down on fake news sites, it will prominently display one a day at the top of the newsfeed with DID YOU SHARE THIS? IT'S MADE UP in a gigantic font.

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    2. Don't expect too much from Farcebook!

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  2. I did not read the porn and avoid it always. But even some liberal sites have been stricken from my bookmarks because they are just hype sites. I did read about the source and wonder why the lamstream media did not give it greater visibility as a news story.

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    1. Oh yes. It comes from all over. BTW, I can't bring myself to use the phrase "lamestream media" because I think of it as coming from Sarah Palin and describing actual good news sources that she doesn't care for.

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  3. I missed that one, probably because I long ago put a silencer on FB posts from Republican friends. Like Tabor, I've finally slashed some of my liberal hype sites, too. I hadn't thought of fake news as porn, but that's a good description. It's gotten old.

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    1. I do like sites like The Onion, but they don't make stuff up with the intent to fool anyone. I hope.

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  4. I actually went to Macedonia in 2009. They seemed like nice people. It must be their kids. And fake news is no longer coming to my FB feed, either. I unfriended all those people who showed me even one.

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  5. One of our local breweries has a Macedonian kid (probably in his 30's) as one of their imported brewmasters. The ladies think he is quite handsome, but I'm suspicious that he might be feeding ideas to his friends back home. I wonder what his cut is?

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    1. All right, so everybody in the whole world knows Macedonia is a real place except me. I was so bad at geography that when I went from D.C. to Massachusetts to go to college, I was surprised to see New York City in the way.

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  6. I just heard about this the other day. Big heavy sigh ... if only we could harness people's talent and energy into good causes.

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    1. Unfortunately, people'll do anything for a buck. What's the Macedonian currency? Old goats?

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  7. Ok......here is a dumb question: other than it not agreeing with my way of thinking, how can one tell if it is a fake news site? I would ban them and call my friends out about them if I knew how to identify them.

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    1. Most people just go straight to Snopes.com, but there are a lot of articles on the web and lists of fake news sites if you want to poke around.

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    2. There are always some clues. If the headline is obvious click-bait, intended to make you angry or appeal to people's prejudices; if the actual article doesn't back up what the headline says; if the article makes assertions without giving sources; if the article uses biased or inflammatory language; if the page has tons of skeevy ads and pop-ups, it should raise your suspicions. Click on their "About" link--sometimes they'll admit that they're "satire". Check the web address: there are sites that look like they're legitimate news sites, but the address is wrong. For example, the actual web address for ABC News is abcnews.go.com, but there's a fake news site at abcnews.com.co. Any site with "co" at the end of the web address should be suspect. Likewise, sites that end in "-lo", like Newslo and Religionlo, are fake news sites. If you're still not sure, Google is your friend: Google the name of the page plus "fake" and see what comes up. Snopes debunks some of them, but there are other sites that keep track of fake sites, too. And if you're not sure, for gods' sakes, don't share!

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    3. Well, there you go, and to that I would add if you write a blog post about some ridiculous thing that still seems like it could be true (current events being what they are), and your good friend Barb Padgett tells you it was a fake site, after you've already published it on your blog, that's a sign too.

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    4. What I WOULD like to share on FB are bpadgett's comments. Best summation of signs of fakery that I've seen. Bpadgett, permission please?

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    5. See? I don't even need to be smart as long as I accumulate smart friends. It's been a life strategy.

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    6. bpadgett.....thanks for the advice. I don't think it would have helped me in this last election. Your comment that I should be on the lookout for headlines that "make me angry or appeal to people's prejudices" would have applied to tons of stuff this time! Don't know if I could have told the difference.

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    7. Birdgardens, I'm sorry it took so long for me to see this and reply, and of course you may share.

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  8. I don't think I ever saw one of those fake stories - but maybe I wouldn't know because I would have gotten as far as the headline and thought "oh for F#*K's sake" and just moved on. Wasn't there a Philip of Macedonia? Like you, I thought of it as someplace that only existed in the olden days and figured in events I briefly learned about and promptly forgot many years ago.

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    1. I think of them as wearing giant shield-shaped pope hats. All of them. I do not know why.

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  9. Y'know, Murr, the difference between The Onion and
    Mainstream News has really blurred recently.

    Frankly, in the vernacular of Eastern Oregon, "We got hosed"
    I'd like to have hope for this country, but its gone.
    I fought in one of our goddamn wars, and I'm thinking I was on the wrong side.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Murr.
    Bare yard, no snow and in the 40's outside. Global warming ain't real, as our new con in chief tells us, it's a Chinese hoax.

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    1. Ah, but he's melting on that. Stay tuned.

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  10. I wasn't sure where Macedonia was either, except somewhere near Greece, so I looked it up and it says MACEDONIA(F.Y.R.O.M.)
    Any idea what the FYROM means?
    Anybody?

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  11. "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (Googled it!)

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    1. Thank you, why didn't I think of Google? I'm there all the time!

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  12. But formerly than that...it was just plain Macedonia! (Cue the goat bagpipes and the pope hats.)

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  13. A non-sequitur as most of my comments are: My goddaughter, now nearing her PhD at Cal in some obscure field of biochemistry, entered two different essay contest her senior year of high school here in Montana. One sponsored by the Daughters of the Revolution, the other by the ACLU. Both awarded 500 bucks.
    She did both in less than a day. One extolled love of flag and country, the other the rights of the individual to competent counsel if arrested. She won them both.
    I was interested in her methodology..... she shrugged "You just tell them what they want to hear and what they think they already know."
    Mouths of babes, and all that.

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    1. That reminds me: I won the D.A.R. "Excellence in History" award in high school by sitting in a classroom after hours with a few other volunteers and writing an essay. The teacher who made the determination told me afterwards that it was clear I didn't know much about history, but that nobody else could write coherently.

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  14. Whilst there's a debate about who said it first, the phrase "A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on" is timelessly apt.

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