Something's been bothering me for awhile. I don't know what to do about it.
It's the bullshit, doctor. It's everywhere.
Yesterday, as a contribution to the truth in advertising campaign, I highlighted a common, outdated meme using a Facebook poster (for want of a better term) put out by a member of the choir. It sounded nice and truthy but its message is impossible to verify one way or the other. I don't know what these things are supposed to achieve anyway, but that's another issue.
If you can't back up what you are saying with evidence, why would you present it as factual without any qualification? How is this helpful?
You can't fight fiction with more fiction. Isn't that what we dislike about media and others who believe a bunch of malarkey about dog owners? Why aren't we holding ourselves to the same standard we expect from others?
I was surprised when another member of the choir criticized my criticism because, apparently, if you can't prove it's true it doesn't mean it's untrue. I guess the opposite applies as well, then: If you can't prove it's untrue it doesn't mean it's true. It's a wash.
I prefer to say that if you can't verify it, it's untrue and belongs on the big steaming pile of horse-pucky labeled "mythology" until it can be proved. Apparently, I'm wrong in saying that a person who presents information as factual has the burden of supporting it. Who knew? I figure the first guy out of the gate has the burden of proof.
So if I say, for example, that yobs in UK council flats are fighting Chihuahuas in bathtubs, is it true? It would be pretty hard to prove either way so I guess it's not untrue then. (It wouldn't surprise me at all if that became the takeaway point from this post and got sprayed all over The Book. No joke.)
If I say that Dalton McGuinty's family owned a "pit bull" named Tory, is it true? That one is actually in Hansard and I've seen it spread by self-styled BSL warriors around here. It was a joke but there I go again, spoiling a good story. What a bitch. I should change my name to Buzzkill.
I guess that anything said by any crackpot with a website or buffoon who claims expertise is true if it can't be proved to be untrue. So when some piece of garbage like this comes out:
“This is quite astonishing. Although pit bulls make up only a half per cent of the total number of dogs in the US, they are responsible for 43 per cent of fatal dog bites,” he points out.
...is it true?
Nobody knows how many "pit bulls" there are because it all depends on how you define the term. You'd have to go from town to town, counting "pit bulls" to get the actual numbers. (I know that Alan Beck thinks "pit bulls" are only Bull terriers and Staffordshire Bull terriers. He told me so. He is a good friend of Stanley's. He told me that, too.)
So, are people saying that if you can't define "pit bull" and you can't count "pit bulls" then anything said about them, including the bullshit blanket statement that they are responsible for 43% of fatalities is true. because it's not untrue?
Is that how this should work in some people's minds? It is certainly why "pit bulls" are one of the best propaganda models in history.
You can't have it both ways, people.
I don't care if it's old messaging. It matters. I matters when hormonally unbalanced, demented "journalists" quote supposedly credible sources when writing hate-filled rants intended to wound people by hiding behind dogs. They can't be called before a human rights tribunal for spreading hatred as long as they stay focused on those who can't read - or vote. "Hey, what gives, just talkin' about "pit bulls" snorgle burfft schizzleconk bloob...you got a problem with that?"
It matters when some poor newbie stands up at a public meeting and quotes one of these memes (there are lots out there from which to choose) or uses an infographic from a supposedly reputable site like National Geographic that uses 'the facts' as a title for a graphic that doesn't contain one fact because he doesn't know any better, then gets called on it and is stuck for an answer. Oops. Bye bye credibility. For everybody.
Those head-cases with their demented little echo chambers out in the cybernetic wastelands where all the bigots hide like to bend the truth, quote from unreliable sources and just make stuff up. I don't know what their problem is, nor do I care because they are irrelevant to what we are doing. If you validate them by treating them as serious players, you give them power. If you don't care what you put out, you give them snips to use against you.
If you only say what you can support, you don't have to worry about the nut-jobs and nobody can shake you or make you worry about what might leak. It's too late to change is not a valid reason for keeping on keeping on.
You aren't 'educating' the [imaginary] public when you are spreading mythology. You are talking to your own, brainwashing yourselves, marginalizing yourselves. That's how religion operates - march in lockstep, don't rock the boat, just go along with it, don't stir up shit, just say it, don't question it, repeat after me wink wink nudge nudge, this should make everybody like "pit bulls" or hate "pit bulls" or believe in "pit bulls" - it doesn't matter what the angle is. It's truthy. Get with the program and stop stirring the pot, heretic.
I don't care what people believe. I'm not going to try to convert them because that won't be possible. I don't care if they hate dogs and dog owners. That's their right. It's my right to be free of harassment when I walk down the street with my dog, regardless of my appearance or his. It's my right to not have to sweat the neighbours because a law is in place that allows them to put me through if they feel like it for no valid reason. It's my right to not have the government walk into my house any time they want to because I own universally legal personal property. It's my right to be judged by my behaviour - not my race, religion, nationality or my personal appearance or perceived status in the community.
Anything else is irrelevant to this struggle as far as I'm concerned.
We don't need to make stuff up. We don't have to hide behind anything. We are right out there in the open, drawing their fire and their impotent ire while laughing in their faces.
I don't believe in truth or much else, maybe because I was brought up without religion and was taught to question everything from an early age.
I trust evidence. The evidence does not support BSL.
End of story.
There are at least three battles being fought around dog ownership these days.
1. The battle against the animal-rights driven agenda to exterminate domestic dogs. This is fought by brainwashing sensitive people so they will parrot nonsensical messaging about "pet overpopulation", "nasty breeders" and more. It is embraced by those who don't fact-check and don't think about the long game or even what they are 'saying' because all their friends are singing the same song. Ignorance is fertile ground for this agenda.
2. The battle against legislation that discriminates against a minority to allow the erosion of civil rights for the majority. This is achieved by using propaganda and distortion to create a distraction. It's a trick. It is not hard to deal with legislators, even obstinate ones in thrall to ideology. It's a lot easier than trying to inject some sense into the animal welfare zone in my experience.
3. The battle for 'hearts and minds' which is not helped by advocates who send out awful messaging that is supposed to inform the public at large but is usually just a turn off for many reasons. Most of it reinforces stereotypes and isolates them further. Hey, if you keep telling me you are different and your pets are different, why wouldn't I believe you? If you keep telling me to hate/fear your dog, am I supposed to ignore that?
Somebody told me I shouldn't conflate advocacy with marketing messages.
What's the difference?