Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fake News

Since the election of President Trump there have been media articles raging about fake news websites. My initial thought was that this might be a revolt against the considerable number of Hillary puff pieces emanating from the New York Times and its ilk leading up to the election. After a brief bit of spelunking I find those were not the target of rage. There is discussion at Facebook of possibly banning articles that are deemed to be from fake news sites. Google is also discussing disallowing its ad services from fake news sites. The concern is that if war were to be waged against fake news, then there would be a group of people deciding and enforcing what news is fake and what is real. Who would be these deciders and what of their qualifications?

I vote against this prospective censorship and banning of websites. In a light-hearted example, let’s say a sports writer thinks the Cleveland Browns have a chance of reaching the playoffs next season [this season is already shot for this perennially damaged sports franchise]. As far as I’m concerned that’s not real news and such silly opinions would be worthy of ridicule. But just because I disagree with it doesn’t mean it should be banned from a public that is willing to consume it. Certainly we can all agree that the Browns footballers playing well enough to reach the playoffs is a comical idea, but there really is a serious issue at stake.

The greater issue is that if censorship comes to fruition, a news article or opinion piece putting forth a challenging idea might be deemed inedible for public consumption. If a journalist challenges global warming or is perceived to slight a favored demographic, for example, these articles might be deemed to have run afoul of an enforcer’s threshold of fake news. Ignorance prevails every time only a single side of an issue is put forth with the other perspective being suppressed. Such suppression would be a significant barrier to fostering an educated informed populace.

Of course fake news is problematic, so is dumbed down journalism written to navigate within the barriers of approved talking points. The truth is there are dubious websites, they are deserving of their freedom and our derision. Just as importantly, serious people should consider sources before ingesting their news. So let's be serious.


Sunday, November 6, 2016


I’ve lately been enjoying a number of silly dreams, too silly, in fact, to keep to myself so I share two of them here from a recent vacation. To set the stage, when we travel I share a bed with our son, Wife Klem shares a bed with our daughter.

Night #1
In my dream I’m walking through the streets of a foreign city at night. I know it’s a foreign city because in Spanish I’m asking pedestrians and passersby ‘Donde esta me chaqueta?’ [‘Where is my jacket’]. Why I’m speaking in Spanish in my dream I know not. [I’m not a Spanish speaker although I have made an effort over the years to learn the language to some minor effect. Clearly my subconscious has been paying attention.] None of the pedestrians knows the whereabouts of my jacket. They walk briskly past me not even slowing down to acknowledge me. It’s a chilly night in the dream and my jacket would increase my comfort level. I woke up in the middle of the night to find that my son, with whom I’d been sharing a bed, has rolled over and taken all the covers. In my dream I’m looking for my jacket, but in real life my slumbering self is cold and merely wants a blanket.

Night #2
The second dream, though far less detailed, carries the same them. I’m a spectator in an ice rink watching an amateur hockey game. Sure is chilly in an ice rink and I had forgotten to layer on the clothing. I woke up to, again, find that my son had rolled over and taken the bed covers with him.

Hopefully Sigmund Freud or one of his ilk does not find any more embarrassing meaning hidden deeply within these subconscious thoughts.