Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in November my wife Anne and I made our annual excursion to the Indiana Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, a beloved special event for her grandmother as it’s one of the few times she gets to venture more than two miles from home. Last month we shared a selection of our photos with MCC readers from here in Indianapolis, along with a light summary of who we saw, what we did, and other truthful statements about the occasion. It’s just this thing we like to do.
As we pushed Mamaw’s wheelchair around the East Pavilion, perused the wares, and sped past every pesky DirecTV huckster, meanwhile on Facebook I had fun sharing real-time photos with our family and friends who enjoy seeing our little outings, some of whom know Mamaw well and love to see her enjoying herself. This time for a couple of reasons I threw in a value-added twist to our live-at-the-scene reports:
Fun social media trivia: if you turn off the GPS locator on your phone, Facebook will let you search and tag your statuses and photos with any location imaginable even if you’ve never been within 2000 miles of it. I learned this technique one day a while back when several Friends participated in the whole “I Stand with NoDAPL” fad by posting a status that falsely pinpointed their current location on a North Dakota reservation rather than in their own living rooms or at the nearest coffee shop. Suddenly the location-tagging feature was no longer just an easy method of sharing your travel excitement with others. Now it was a way of sympathizing with one side of a controversy by pretending to be where the action is. Imaginary activism, as it were. Or possibly “imaginactivism”, which sounds like the name of a terrible Imagine Dragons cover band that only plays protest rallies.
This wave of temporary FARPing (a new acronym I just made up that stands for Faux Action Role Playing) came not long after the media began reporting on the existence of overseas computer personnel establishing non-comedic, straight-faced, intentionally fake news sites to mess with the heads of every voter in America who only gets their daily news from Facebook, small-town papers, and/or their undiscerning, undereducated neighbors. Both sides of the aisle have been griping about “fake news” ever since, whether they meant the aforementioned foreign rabble-rousers, blatant satire like The Onion or ClickHole, official propaganda from the two major parties, or mainstream media outlets oblivious to how some of their own reporters they were getting too close to their subjects. Worst of all, some complainants now affix the “fake news” label to any and all headlines that disagree with their biases, regardless of how many valid firsthand sources and undoctored videos are cited and shared for reference.
Between the media thing and the Facebook thing and the politics thing in general as usual, early November was a hard time to be actual Truth. So after staring at all of this complete lack of ethics for far too many days on end, I thought to myself, “Anything they can do, I can do even worse.”
And that’s the frustration that spawned the idea for Mamaw’s first, only, unreal world tour. I adjusted my phone and picked random locations for each photo off the top of my head as we rolled along — some inspired by the objects in front of us, some a bit more disconnected if my imagination was off in space.
I’m not sure if any Friends got the point of why I did what I was doing, but sometimes I need to get things out of my system even if I’m the only one who gets what I’m doing. I may get things wrong on occasion, whether through memory lapses or rushing too quickly through an entry, which is why I’m grateful to have Anne as my number-one fact-checker. (She helped me correct an omission in last night’s new entry, in fact.) But I’m not interested in infesting what I do here at MCC with outright lies, not even for the sake of impressing Situational-Ethics-Challenged Twitter. And I mean “lies”, not witless euphemisms like “alternative facts”, which is not now nor has it ever been A Thing.
Then again, maybe it’s easier for me to skip lying in public than it is for others. I’m especially grateful I have a job that neither motivates nor orders me to lie.
Not like this guy:
I almost wrote “poor guy”, but as it’s been pointed out both by my wife to me offline and by a professional, nonpartisan ethicist whose head explodes over high-profile ethical lapses on a routine basis, the White House Press Secretary’s official job responsibilities include basically lying whenever and however the President tells them to lie. Sean Spicer is hardly the first placeholder to tell whoppers on demand, not even the first in this decade, but he waaaay underestimated the American public’s stupidity level when addressing Friday’s inauguration attendance evidence. And he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.
I’m sure it pays well, unlike dopes like me out here fronting falsehoods on Facebook for free. In fact, after this experience I’m going back to not lying, where the pay is equally zero but at least I won’t have to worry about customs officers knocking down Mamaw’s door and demanding to verify her passport.