detail from miniature of The Conference of the Birds

Rumor Control

Maybe because Twitter is in the news, various thoughts about it have come across my email, which I do read [when I get to it], including this [Yair Rosenberg, “Elon Musk is no Aberration”] and this [Tom Nichols, “I’m Staying on Twitter”].

I’m staying off Twitter, myself, because the last time I was on Twitter, some time in 2016 I think, all it did was blow up my phone. I just don’t have the mental bandwidth for that – too analog.

But it has occurred to me that I learned the phrase “rumor control” – in the context of quashing misinformation that was making the rounds – even longer ago. Some time last century.

I can believe that the scope and speed of lies getting several times around the world before the truth ever gets its pants on has probably accelerated. I can believe the number and frequency of people telling lies, both on purpose and by accident, has grown.

I can definitely believe all that’s a problem.

But the roots of that problem seem to me, honestly, to go a lot deeper even than Twitter and its pernicious incentive structure.

stained glass panels show Adam, Eve, serpent in Eden

Images: “The Concourse of the Birds,” [detail] Attar of Nishapur, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; “Adam and Eve,” Hans Christiansen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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