A Bear or A Man? 🐻 πŸ§” | Perforated Lines
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⚑ May 23, 2024

A Bear or A Man? 🐻 πŸ§”

This image was generated through the Substack AI logo maker, with prompts from me. I used the Etching mode instead of bugging my daughter for cool custom blog art.

This image was generated through the Substack AI logo maker, with prompts from me.
I used the Etching mode instead of bugging my daughter for cool custom blog art.

There is a new parlor game going around the internet this week, and it’s in the form of a question to be posed to the ladies. You’re in the forest, alone. Which would you rather run into: a man or a bear? A grizzly man or a startled bear? Will bear spray always work? Both can climb trees and run fast and are usually of superior strength … so guess which creature most of the women chose?

Sure, maybe some of the ladies were just being contrary, but there’s a sad feeling of truthiness about their choice. You know it means something when it’s proliferating on a T-shirt and, as the internet continues to flourish and the news industry continues to fracture, I find that I’m getting my best info from unstable and unreliable and even unusual sources. It’s sometimes nothing more than pure gossip and blind items from darkened whistleblowers and reformed criminals, but if you’re a true news hound and you know fact from fiction, you can survive a rabbit hole and sometimes even sniff out promising truffles.

In the olden days before the internet, it was much easier to figure things out. You could always tell the quality and therefore the voracity of the news by a certain level of monied trappings: the trucks and the billboards and the Sunday New York Times dropping like a log outside apartment doors and rolling in protective blue plastic down paved circular drives misted with automatic sprinklers. For the comfortable classes, a long day of reading sugar-plum factoids would end in a longer nap with the Sunday Magazine spread-eagle on the duvet, the crossword puzzle unfinished forever.

Knowledge used to be locked away from the grubby and judiciously doled out in subscriptions and seminars. Fancy decorating ideas were encased in very expensive magazines, and you had to steal greasy glances while waiting for your sandwich to be made if you wanted to learn about the rich; the fall edition of Vogue was the size of a college textbook and just as instructive. Plus, there were perfume samples!

On the other hand, and most important, the ravings of crazy people used to be obvious. If you saw a distressed maniac in sackcloth with a sign and a handout, you could cross the street and avoid eye contact. You would walk past all mimeographed screeds stapled to telephone poles without stopping, and you would never call a number written on a bathroom wall. Common sense told you which texts to believe and which to incinerate.

Not any more. You can’t feel the paper or smell the perfume through the screens; spell-checking and filters smooth out flaws. Film and video tape and even the voices of our loved ones can be manipulated by low-level liars with big budgets. We are going to find out, in the months leading up to this next election, just how far AI fakery will take us. Is Princess Catherine in a deep coma or is she sitting on a bench with a slight breeze ruffling her hair? Did astronauts really jump off a ladder and land on the moon or a sound stage? Did bears rig the poll? πŸ”

Image from an Etsy store.

Image from an Etsy store.