David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
How To Be Wrong

July 19, 2018

So, Mark Zuckerberg believes holocaust deniers are not "intentionally getting it wrong," and in doing so, he has not only justified the continual wall of hatred that FaceBook has become, he has also in essence dumped the last shovel-full of dirt on top of educated objectivity.

Oh, mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.*

In case you don't want to read the specifics of what Zuckerberg said (and an argument could be made that you should . . . and that you shouldn't), here's how I summarize his main argument: if your belief comes from ignorance, that's o.k. Funny, I seem to remember when "ignorance of the law" was no excuse.

The problem is that Holocaust deniers are getting it INTENTIONALLY wrong. When they refuse to accept the thousands of first-person accounts, from both sides, victim and perpetrator, they are intentionally getting it wrong. However, in Zuckerberg's world, people are continually given free passes to be ignorantly wrong, to simply be blind to the facts and evidence.

I know this seems a little confusing.  How can I claim to be appropriately wrong?

There is a fairly simple instructional manual for being wrong:

Step 1: Ignore anything faintly resembling instructional manuals, reference materials, research studies.

Step 2: Repeat Step 1 over and over.

But no matter how easily you think you can be wrong, you will have to get in line for crowing about your ignorance. As Tom Waits once famously sang, you will have to get behind the mule(s).

Get behind North Carolina University Head Football Coach, Larry Fedora, who just this week stated "I don't think it's been proven the game of football causes CTE [concussions]."  He then goes on to claim that such spurious research will be the demise of football and "decline of our country."  See, the great thing about reveling in your ignorance is that you can be as hyperbolic as you want, or at least as old-fashioned as the hat you share a name with.

Get behind Ann Coulter, who last month, called crying babies separated from their mothers at US borders as "child actors." That's the good thing about children; they don't need to go through method acting classes to fake crying when separated from their mothers.  They also probably don't need acting classes to scream uncontrollably when Coulter shows up on t.v.

Get behind Kat Von D, who got behind Jenny McCarthy, bemoaning the anti-vaccination cause.  I have to admit I had never heard of Kat Von D before this story.  Can't help starting a draft of a Bob Seger parody to Katmandu: "I think I'm looking up Kat Von D/Gotta find out if that's a he or a she . . ." I guess this is a good boon for her career. Most of us had never heard of Jenny McCarthy until she started her own babble about vaccines. 

Get behind Alex Jones and his despicable attempts to discredit families whose kids died at Sandy Hook.  It's one thing to debunk theories or long-passed events; it's another to debunk real people's pain.  Of course that is the same kind of audacity necessary to call a publication "Info Wars," as if information can be at war?

Don't think you merely have to get behind people lining up in the last few months.  Such unwillingness to consider reasonable evidence means Kirk Cameron is still in line in front of you, arguing that there is no evidence for evolutionary science.  (And I have to admit, the only reason I remembered Kirk Cameron, in this context, as I watched enough Growing Pains to remember his real claim to fame, is because of this article in December, suggesting that scientists may have found the "Crocoduck" Cameron claimed would be the real evidence of evolutionary theory.)

So get in line.  Way at the back of the line.  You're going to be here awhile.  But don't fret. Mark Zuckerberg may have already walked back from his initial statement here, but he is still at the head of the line and he is going to make sure you have a wall to graffiti when you get there.

*Ubiquitous Smiths/Morrissey line--"I Know It's Over."