Liar, Liar (Snopes)

Snooping can be quite a rush.

You know you are looking at something which isn’t really for you, but it feels good to look at weird things, so you do it.

I’ve done some snooping on the internet from time to time, dear readers. It’s similar to research, but is a lot more cathartic, because I could get lost in one topic or another fairly easily, and I could spend moments or I could spend hours on said topic.

Though I’ve always been skeptical of what I learn online.

This is because I know that people lie on the internet, sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident, and because of the scope and scale of the internet, it is very difficult to be sure when someone writes anything with authority.

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Though I’ve never been one to side with the Snopes.

In case you’ve been living under a metaphorical rock, The Snopes are a family from a triliogy of novels by William Faulkner. A really weird family to boot.

Which is probably where the website snopes.com got their name from and which I will refer to as Snopes for the rest of the blog post. Snopes is going to be the source of this post but not the source for your wisdom today.

For all of those who take Snopes at their word, if you really want to to know something and figure out the truth of the matter, I think it’s time to reconsider their value proposition.

If you really want to know the truth of a story, you need to do exactly what your teachers in primary school used to tell you – do your own damn research first and cite your sources.

You see my friends, the authors of Snopes do exactly what most of us already do, run a Google search and mark it down on their website. And that’s a good thing, researching and investigating.

Unfortunately though the team at Snopes don’t have a background in investigative journalism, so it’s not like their research skills are that much greater than your own, and it also means that there are no guarantees that what they conclude are more accurate then your own findings. Granted, they just might spend a few hours on a given topic, but how assured are you of that fact at this point?

And I’m quite confident that you have friends or colleagues that’ll run a search on Snopes, find out that the authors have debunked that theory/urban legend/story you shared, and then they’ll ultimately say “see, I told you!”

Which your friends SHOULD do, because we shouldn’t be able to just get away with shit. No one should. George Washington demonstrates it best with this quote.

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You want some more info on Snopes, now don’t you? Well, Snopes is run by a husband and wife team, no office, no bullpen, no mail room, no team of lawyers, journalists, and administrators, and definitely not a library. David and Barbara Mikkelson started their website in the early oughts, but much like Wikipedia, it’s run by two enthusiasts who are human and flawed.

Humans have spiritual, social, and political leanings, and we should celebrate that diversity, but never give absolute authority to one group.

You have to take your sources with a grain of salt, dear readers. Only then can you gain more perspective and become a better artist. After all, artists are the lens through which ideas are filtered and transmitted, and so we have a responsibility to take in the world, fully.

And those are all of the theories I have today.

Tim!

 

 

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