Friday, April 15, 2011
Friday Funny Cubed - But Is It?
First, a learned professor decides that Sarah Palin didn't give birth to Trig. "Business" Insider article.
Scharlott's article walks through all the evidence supporting the theory, including the photos of Palin in what is said to have been a late-stage pregnancy, the leisurely 20-hour trip home that Palin took after she supposedly went into labor in Texas, the refusal of the hospital where Trig was supposedly born to even confirm that he was born there (let alone who was the mother), strange statements from Palin's doctor and the McCain campaign, and so on.Here's the article of the prof at ScribD. I skimmed it, because a professor who claims that a hospital not speaking to the press is evidence of a hoax is bent on lying due to the HIPAA federal restrictions (hospitals and doctors can't give out any info without your express permission). However he mentions HIPAA in the article even while implying several times that the refusals of the hospital and doctors to speak to journalists should rouse suspicion.
Also, there is the problem that the assumed mother, Bristol, gave birth in December of the same year which raises the space alien question. The wise prof kind of skirts that issue that by deciding that Bristol probably gave birth to Trig in January. Does he have any evidence? Nah. This, btw, does not exactly solve the space alien problem. There's a considerable difference between a newborn and a four month old, and I'll be danged if Trig was six months old in those early pics.
The prof does have strong evidence that something is fishy, the strongest of which seems to be that Palin's doc wrote a letter released by the McCain campaign which says that Palin was pregnant and gave birth to Trig at 35 weeks. This proves that there is a cover up, but because I am not a professor I cannot understand why. Professors get so little respect these days; many DU denizens are deeply skeptical of this scholarly effort.
The prof's article did inspire me to dig into the matter more. Exactly what, I wondered, was Scharlott a professor of? I suspected this was a joke and that the professor's name was derived from the word "charlatan".
But apparently it is not. He's in journalism at Northern Kentucky University. He also teaches "mass communications". It is a very progressive institution. It's got a College of Informatics, and they've got a professorship open. More about Informatics. You can git yuh degree in Business Informatics, in Computer Science, in Media Informatics - the sky's the limit!
It took my middle-aged brain some time to retrieve the "informatics" association (mah informatics must be gittin' weak), but it is C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength". In a decent world, all of C. S. Lewis' works would be posted online, but we do not live in a decent world yet.
I might look it up and type out some of the relevant sections. N.I.C.E. has its own informatics-machine set up and it is very, very serious about mass communications. It's interesting that C.S. Lewis identified the fundamental operative perversion of modern society as being information distortion, and not just distortion of information, but distortion of information in a way that tends to corrupt the individual's ability to learn the truth about absolutely anything. It is not just information which is distorted, but the ability of the human mind to learn and test which must be destroyed.
To me, this whole internet encounter with truthiness epistemology just kept getting funnier as I went along, right up until I realized that NKU has its computer science and library studies in a college with the public relations and propaganda. That was when I stopped, gulped and started to wonder. Because Prof Brad Charlatan clearly is not worried about what this sort of thing will do to his standing in the department, is he?
He wrote the article to prove a point. But what point? Still suspecting that this might have been a gag, I did find the interview. Is it a deeply cynical attempt to demonstrate the corruption of the press by trying to get journalists to take as evidence things that are clearly not evidence? Or is it what it seems to be? Either way, I cannot imagine how he could have a theory of what journalism should be that includes conveying the truth.
In the interview, Scharlott says this:
My hope for the paper has always been twofold. One objective is to do what academics like me typically do: present the paper at an academic conference and then publish in an academic journal. (I’ve submitted it to a conference – I’ll hear in next month if it has been accepted).
But the other objective has always been the overriding one: to use my paper to force the mainstream media to confront their negligence concerning the fantastic birth story and report on it. Since the fall of 2008 I have been dismayed by the cravenness of American journalists. I’m a former journalist myself, and now I am a journalism professor. My aim, in part, is to help reveal the truth. But even more than that, my aim is to help American journalism regain its integrity, in some small measure.
I've been slowly trying to get back up to speed.
In your last post you said...
"I feel a dislocation in the force. It's not a good feeling; it's akin to being a mile out from shore ice-fishing on the lake and hearing the ice start cracking and popping under your feet."
What struck me was this comment in a post I did today.
"In an industry that serves more than 150 million meals every day..."
The restaurant industry serves THAT many meals per day? With oil at $100+, I would not want to be opening a new restaurant right now. Let's just put it that way.
My word verification is: puntemic
What a foreboding word that is! Punt? Pandemic?
Kick the "canned" down the road?
Puntemic on 4th down with $1 trillion deficits to go? Hail Mary!
There's only so many times we can complete that pass before we all get "sacked". Sigh.
Stagflation is what I am praying for!!!
There's never been a time when the US has had unemployment this high for this long other than one of those "panics", aka depressions. It turns out Keynes has his limits - it can offset some of the income effects, but it doesn't change much about employment.
"Mark - I was thinking of going over and teasing you that stagflation was the bright hope for us."
Call me an optimist! Sigh. ;)
I guess having an unemployment rate over 5% only counts if you have a Republican president.
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