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Memory Of A Bush Detractor

I made a very brief post-mortem of the Bush Administration a few days ago, but there was a story about one of Bush's critics I failed to include. It's worth telling. Hence, this entry.

I was in a nearby restaurant a few years ago run by a man who strongly disliked George Bush. I was always hearing him bash Bush, but what I overheard that day was particularly interesting.

He was talking about Bush's National Guard service. He said that Bush had forged documents about his service, and that hey had been proven forgeries because they had been made with Microsoft Word, which did not exist at the time Bush was in the National Guard.

I nearly fell over. There had indeed been forged documents that were proven to be false by the very method he cited. Trouble is, these were not documents Bush used to support his service. They were forged documents that CBS used to criticize Bush's service. It was truly amazing how wrong he was. He had taken some incomplete knowledge, filled it in with a wrong belief of his own, and arrived at the exact opposite of the truth. It's as if there was something in his brain that re-routed and transformed anything that might exonerate Bush. Many people will ignore or explain away evidence that doesn't support their conclusions, but he went way beyond that.


I remember a while back on Fox News a little segment called the 'No Spin Zone'. The idea was that the news would be delivered without any bias or whatever. I'd argue their institutional bias still came through, but that's not the point. The interesting thing was that they said we were living in a 'post-spin' world. I wished that were the case, but the show itself was evidence that it wasn't.

Sometimes I feel like we live in a post-facts world. My most recent post deals with some of these post-facts people, but I mean, you see it everywhere you go. At the barber shop the other day, the woman cutting my hair was talking about being harassed by the homeless, and then started talking about how once in 80s in Philadelphia, they gathered up all the 'good people' from the area, then just 'carpet-bombed' the remaining area to be tough on crime.

It took me a minute, but I realized she was talking about the MOVE situation in 1985. Her understanding of the situation could not be more divorced from the facts involved in the situation. I asked a few questions to clarify just to make sure she was thinking of the same incident (to my knowledge, it's the only incident of a city bombing itself domestically). Once I was sure, I tried to explain the real situation.

She didn't believe me, she was sure her version was the correct one. And I got a crappy haircut. But anyway, I feel like I run into these people all the time. People are apt to repeat any story they've heard even in the periphery without verifying it, even stories about REALLY important things like whether or not the president forged government documents. Any anecdotal evidence that supports a persons point gets opted into the discussion as absolute. It's really starting to get on my nerves.
That haircut story is priceless. It's certainly an excellent illustration of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I remember reading a funny book called "How to Argue with a Liberal", and it gave a suggestion - Try not to have arguments with people who could potentially abuse their power over you, such as your boss (the argument "You're fired" is hard to beat), doctor, or hairdresser.

...Still, I don't think this is a really new phenomenon. You know how some people will repeat any gossip they hear? Okay, maybe doing it to politics is a new phenomenon. But I wouldn't know.
this is also known as the Warren-effect. it's when one takes a grain of truth and runs in the opposite direction with it.