Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

July 2016

Independence Day! God bless America.

Without giving it much thought, I figured I was good to go in regard to patriotism et al. But I am getting challenged in the weirdest ways. One of my old — literally old — college buddies bombards me with emails kicked off with “In God we trust” and trailed with “God bless America!”

The  message in the middle challenges the reader (usually with tons of headers full of other folks who are either getting or giving the message) to accept junk that Snopes.com labeled as “false” several years ago, and if you don’t forward the message to a ton of your friends and family, you obviously don’t trust God or bless America.

A neighbor lady I really enjoy chatting with in person started putting fake news posts on Facebook. I, lest I ruin all chances of ever again chatting with her about the Chicago Cubs or brownie recipes, unfriended her. Perhaps I needed only to unfollow her but I’m not really handy with Facebook, although I like the stock’s long prospects. What put me over the side was a post headline “Famous actor blasts Obama!” I read the attached “story” several times and it never once mentioned Obama or politics. It pretty much quoted the actor as loving his dad.

Caitlin Dewey is the Washington Post’s culture critic. She recently wrote, “On June 4, the satirical news site the Science Post published a block of “lorem ipsum” text under a frightening headline: ‘Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.’” The article went on to say, “‘People are more willing to share an article than read it,’ study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

I am inspired to not take stuff buddies and friends and their buddies and friends send my way. I’ll just hit “reply all” and type:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum pulvinar faucibus tortor sed accumsan. Suspendisse aliquet, lacus at sagittis consequat, tellus nunc pharetra mauris, sit amet iaculis quam turpis eget dui. Donec euismod urna nec ante varius, vitae porttitor est mollis. Nulla dapibus, metus sed sollicitudin finibus, arcu tellus placerat risus, bibendum sagittis sem lorem a justo. Sed ac semper metus. Praesent condimentum lectus felis, et sagittis nulla ullamcorper a. Morbi egestas tortor diam. Ut blandit urna libero, nec sagittis metus dapibus nec. Morbi placerat est et dapibus mollis. Sed suscipit nulla eget scelerisque vestibulum.”

Happy Independence Day! God bless America. Heck, God bless Canada and Mexico, too. Why not?