I hate that I have become skeptical, but lately it seems as if things I thought to be so just aren’t. It all started with the re-airing of Roots on BET. I recorded the show and vividly remember watching it when it first aired in 1977. We were viewing the recordings over Christmas and had to do some traveling so I asked my wife to research the timeline of Alex Haley’s ancestors to see when certain people lived. Along the way we found that Haley had fabricated much of the book, plagiarized would be a more accurate term, and that main ancestors could not have possibly been the children since the father died before the daughter was born. So much was false that the book has to be considered fiction. It totally blew me away that this was false.
Last week I saw a quote attributed to a historical figure as his writing. It seemed a little too convenient so I went to the internet and found it quoted on over 1,600 websites according to Google. That still seemed a little suspect so I went to the manuscript and searched the entire document. The quote never appears. It even gets worse, I could find no instance where they actually said what was attributed, no speech, writing, nothing.
This week I was researching quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. and using the Mlkday.gov site to corroborate one I liked. However it really didn’t seem correct to me even though it appears on the dot gov site, not at all like something he would say so I dug a little deeper. I found that the quote was close, but had been paraphrased. It still meant the same thing, but if it is paraphrased it simply isn’t a quote. Then a friend posted another quote on Facebook and it too was out of context and was not something Dr. King wrote. Finally a family member sent me a quote attributed to Dr. King, once again a thorough search revealed he probably never made, nor wrote the statement. (Note: Do not quote the Mlkday.gov site, most of the quotes there are not direct quotes.)
Last night I happened to catch a documentary on Axs.tv called FrackNation. I had never heard of it and told my wife we should watch it since we enjoyed the Gasland documentary (in a minute you will see why I will not link to Gasland). Within a few minutes it became clear this new documentary was going to explore the reality of the Gasland documentary. I must say that based on Gasland I was fearful of fracking and was not sure we should allow new exploration and wells. It was a compelling documentary. FrackNation started by questioning the Gasland filmaker Josh Fox and showed enough truths to make Gasland a fictionalized story. It totally shattered my view of the film. Fox had not presented truth in much of the documentary and had sensationalized many trivial points. Don’t take my word for it, watch the FrackNation. I went to the interwebs and did a quick bit of research and it becomes clear the more truthful story is that of FrackNation.
Earlier this week a friend posted a photo with gun stats on Facebook. This is the same friend who was posting incorrect MLK quotes. They are for gun control and I while I do not agree with their position, I do respect them enough as a friend to listen to and respect their opinion. However on this photo I decided to check some statistics and they turned out to just not be true. The photo was a share of a share of a share and when it was traced back to the origin it was an anti-gun group who it seemed their sole purpose is to chastise and disarm law-abiding citizens. On their Facebook page some had visited and questioned their statistics and the anti-gun group pointed to a study, which I already had seen and downloaded, and they misrepresented the data in the study.
The point of my post today is to stay skeptical. This doesn’t mean to not trust anything, but if you do see or read something about guns, gun violence, or gun control, be sure to check out the information thoroughly before passing it on to others. You may just find the information was not true in the first place.