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Trump’s Twehtoric

I found two interesting takes on Trump’s Terrible Tweeting today. First, from the bestest media podcast, On the Media, a discussion with George Lakoff on how the tweets tend to fit certain categories.

Preemptive framing – Posing the issue immediately in a way that suits him, makes him look good or reinforces his own position. Then others are likely to remember it this way.

Diversion – To get people all emotional and outraged about some stupid stuff instead of serious issues. Keyword “overrated”. People forget what the story was originally about.

Trial balloon – Send an idea up the flagpole and see who salutes or shoots it down.

Deflection – Making it about someone or something else other than his shortcomings.

Trump’s twehtoric is very effective. He knows how to work it to get results. The media, however, fall for this shit over and over. Lakoff says that reporting on the tweet allows for manipulation of the reporter and of the truth. Instead, he says do this:Read More »

Not paying attention: An unskeptical Facebook kerfuffle

I’m frequently discouraged by how often and quickly people who value “critical thinking” send barbs towards others with the same goals using unwarranted accusations and mischaracterizations. It’s too common. A few weeks ago, I was accused on a Facebook friend’s page of only writing about “low hanging fruit” and that my website Doubtful News was limited to applying skepticism to “paranormal, conspiracies and alt med”. A rude and ignorant commenter who favors ad hominem insults says he “begged” me to cover issues that really hurt people like “computer scams, phishing”. That might be a blatant lie or it just might be an exaggeration, I can’t remember anyone contacting me about that at all. Regardless, it was absurd. As with pseudoscience, it’s hard to unpack such trumped-up claims. The writers’ goals were to support their efforts to make a feel-good social judgment upon me. They weren’t interested in facts, just emotions. The facts are this: my platform has LONG BEEN application of science and skepticism to all appropriate subject areas – the circle can certainly grow!

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Cryptid capers: The Iceman, Scooby Doo, and those meddling copyright holders

Dr. Darren Naish has a new post out on the Minnesota Iceman. It’s adapted from his book Hunting Monsters which is soon to be out in hard copy (already in electronic format). Good news! However, the cryptozoological go-hards don’t generally like the scholarly-type books which often carry a more skeptical tone. They tend to go for the anecdotal collections that have few or poor references and that promote the mystery beasts as real. So books like this one from Darren, along with Radford’s Tracking the Chupacabra, Regal’s Searching for Sasquatch and Loxton and Prothero’s Abominable Science (among others) are deliberately ignored, or trashed by a few surly self-styled cryptozoological experts (who wouldn’t even read the entire book). It makes me think that many in the field don’t want to do the work needed to actually document the cases well and fit them into the literature, or they just want to promote their preferred beliefs and the truth doesn’t matter as much. They also have a chip on their shoulder about those who do the book work, so to speak, a necessary academic exercise, as opposed to seeking a mystery creature out in the woods who wins the award for Hide and Seek Champion.

Speaking of the truth, the Iceman’s origin is cloudy. The owner, Frank Hansen did not have a version that he stuck to. Darren relates five different origin stories:Read More »

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When Bigfoot became an alien (around 1973)

Talk about a flashback! In my latest podcast interview with Jason Colavito, we are discussing the alien-Bigfoot connection (in the context of Bigfoot as Nephilim) when Jason mentions the TV series Six Million Dollar Man that featured Bigfoot as a recurring character in four episodes, and once on the Bionic Woman show from 1976 to 1977.

The Secret of Bigfoot (part 1) aired on February 1, 1976. I was 5 years old, so I likely did not watch this but I do have a strong recollection of seeing these shows and being rather frightened by the Bigfoot character – he was huge and had a look very similar to the Patterson-Gimlin film Bigfoot (“Patty”). In fact, other than the lack of breasts, this Sasquatch suit fit pretty well in comparison to Patty. The head and face are always the hardest to make authentic-looking. This TV bigfoot featured creepy eyes and appeared roaring out of the shadows, giving me a serious case of the willies. Already obsessed with monsters, I loved it anyway.Read More »

Put down the fries and vodka

baconvodkaI know some people binged on fried foods and ice cream post-election. This article today from Washington Post shows you weren’t alone. But it didn’t really make you feel better. I know I hit the brandy and vodka a bit more at the end of the day than I should have. Sleep, a walk outside, watching a good movie or show, enjoying time with family and pets, getting into some deep thinking over a book all served me better. Read More »

“the reality is that Catherine is freakish…”

I’m bored today and have no motivation to do anything so I took a peak into my “spam” catcher and the results were entertaining. These were captured in a filter even before moderation because they come from accounts who just wish to include their web addresses or keywords in as many places as possible. Often, the comment is vaguely complementary enough so most people let it through.

Here are some examples of vaguely complementary (exactly as posted):Read More »

Intellectual arrogance – Belittling with “I feel sorry for you”

I listen to about 8 different podcasts to get various perspectives, ideas and learn new things. I’m behind in my podcast queue at the moment and I try to squeeze 10-15 minutes in everywhere I can. I was listening to On the Media (OTM) while getting ready for work: Bob Garfield was interviewing Jared Taylor, a White Nationalist and founder and editor of American Renaissance. You can read the transcript here. Taylor believes that “blacks are less intelligent than whites, whites are less intelligent than East Asians, and that the races are driven, by nature, to segregate.” I hold the value of equality of all people under the law and that it benefits the US collectively to have a diverse and inclusive, peaceful society without race or class divisions and inequalities. Mr. Taylor doesn’t think so. I can’t be sure exactly how he wants America to be but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t agree.

At the end of the discussion, he says this to Garfield:

You really have a closed mind. I feel sorry for you, really. You’re unable to look around you and see the double standards, the contradictions, the facts. But I hope you’re happy in your ignorance.

Isn’t that ironic? A white male talking about double standards, contradictions and facts. There was a lot to chew on in that short interview but Mr. Taylor failed to earn any respect from me considering his segregationist and non-humanist values to which I do not subscribe. I think if you listen, you will get a similar take-away from it. Not all ideas are equally valid.Read More »