Sunday, September 19, 2004

Shoe's untied

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." So said Mark Twain; but bloggers have turned this on its head. The exposure of document forgery has circled the globe at light speed, but CBS is still choosing its footwear for today. NYT reports that CBS might acknowledge doubts about its memos shortly. I like Andrew Sullivan's axiom: the more fervently one wishes that something were true, the more scrutiny and caution is needed. Yet, how to balance that with trust...the kind of trust that makes relationships possible, that makes society function? It's interesting that the White House has said that it did not question the documents, because it saw no value in questioning CBS. Likewise, it appears that the producer trusted the reporters. I work in a world where it doesn't matter if I was right yesterday. "I've been right for 20 years, so I'm correct today..."-- that attitude would get me booted out in a hurry.

Sadly, when someone is determined to scam us, and like Peter Pan, we want to believe....we will be taken in. Here is my all-time favorite forgery:
"Scholars will recall that several years ago a shepherd, wandering the Gulf of Aqaba, stumbled upon a cave containing several large clay jars and also two tickets to the ice show. Inside the jars were discovered six parchment scrolls with ancient incomprehensible writing which the shepherd, in his ignorance, sold to the museum for $750,000 apiece...
"Archeologists originally set the date of the scrolls at 4000 B.C., or just after the massacre of the Israelites by their benefactors. The writing is a mixture of Sumerian, Aramaic, and Babylonian and seems to have been done by either one man over a long period of time, or several men who shared the same suit. The authenticity of the scrolls is currently in great doubt, particularly since the word "Oldsmobile" appears several times in the text..." "Still (the excavationist noted that) this is the greatest archeological find in history with the exception of the recovery of his cuff links from a tomb in Jerusalem. " -from "The Scrolls" by Woody Allen, in "Without Feathers," 1972 (first appearing in the New Republic).


Blogger Modulator said...

Well, I don't know if the White House "did not question the documents, because it saw no value in questioning CBS". I find Daniel Wiener's attempt at creating a plausible explanation fascinating (in general) but it definitely has a different spin on the White House's behavior in the whole matter...

Lastly, I enjoy reading your blog, keep it up!

12:59 PM  
Blogger shrinkette said...

Dear Modulator, Thanks for your comment. I see I left a thought dangling up there...something about how I have to earn trust every day, and CBS does too, but they let it slip...

9:16 PM  

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