Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The title of this blog post is classified

I think we've all had moments when we were taken in by a prank or a hoax.  Some of them can be pretty clever, and after all, we're only human -- we can't call things correctly all the time.

And when it happens, most of us go, "Wow, what a goober I am!" and laugh a little, and move on -- with, one would hope, a resolution not to fall quite so quickly the next time.

Which is probably why the YouTube video clip that a loyal reader sent me the link to had me torn between guffawing and crying.  Well, not the video itself; the video is a clip from The Onion, that awesome purveyor of satire, about a "Homeland Terrorism Preparedness Bill" (that doesn't exist) being reviewed by a Representative John Haller of Pennsylvania (who doesn't exist).

What had me twitching were the comments.

Yes, yes, I know, never read the comments section.  I broke the cardinal rule.  And now that I've done so, I'm even more worried that we might elect Donald Trump for president, because the majority of the commenters appear to be walking, talking, computer-owning, voting Americans who have the IQ of a peach pit.

First, though, let's see what "Representative Haller" had to say:
Congress shall now vote for approval of HR 8791, the Homeland Terrorism Preparedness Bill, as said bill requests emergency response funding up to and including...  I'm sorry, this section is classified ... dollars to prepare for a national level terrorist attack and/or attack from CLASSIFIED.  Funding for first responder personnel and vehicles would be doubled if said attack leads to more than 80% of national population being affected by CLASSIFIED.  This funding shall commence with the first attack on CLASSIFIED or the first large-scale outbreak of CLASSIFIED, dependent upon which comes first.  Civilian and military units shall be trained in containment and combat of CLASSIFIED including irradiated CLASSIFIED with possibility of CLASSIFIED airborne CLASSIFIED flesh-eating CLASSIFIED, and/or all of the above in such event as CLASSIFIED spewing CLASSIFIED escape, are released, or otherwise become uncontrollable.

Air Force units may also be directed to combat said CLASSIFIED due to their enormous size and other-worldly strengths.  Should event occur in urban areas...  Jesus, that's... that's CLASSIFIED... far surpassing our darkest nightmares.  Should casualties exceed CLASSIFIED body disposal actions shall be halted and associated resources shall be reallocated to CLASSIFIED underground CLASSIFIED protected birthing centers.  A new Bill of Rights shall be drafted and approved by CLASSIFIED.

Having now reviewed the bill, I ask you to please cast your votes.
Okay, please reassure me; having heard that, you would immediately know that it was fake.  Right?  Right?

Apparently, "wrong."  Here's a comment that appears on the video link:
If you have any intelligence at all or if you are just "awake" you can easily enough fill in the blanks "classified" Hmmm..  He is basically talking about radiation and disease(s) outbreak and containment, underground facilities and the general population which will evidently be gradually eradicated!  Better get your house in order, light your Lamp and have PLENTY of OIL this is going to be a long, tedious ride until Jesus comes back!  We don't know when, ONLY The Father knows so we should be ready AT ALL TIMES but these things happen FIRST, BEFORE He gets back, so you need to stay ready and "endure" with all you've got!  Remember Jesus IS The ONLY Way! ~Heads UP!
Well, someone sensible responded to that, to wit:
This was fake video made by The Onion. Look at the logo in the lower right corner. Get a grip on reality.
Remember my opening paragraph, about going, "Wow, how silly of me!  I got fooled!"  Well, here's the followup comment.  Spelling and grammar are as written, because you can only add [sic] so many times:
It could be a fake, or maybe the onion logo is a replacement over the real logo. maybe somebody tampering with the video to make its seem like a fake and someone got their hands on it.  The onion logo could be a cover up scheme who knows...  But I will say this, all around us there is blood being shed, crazy earth quakes, murder, war, lies, the death toll is off the chain.  muslims cut the heads off of little children and dance around with the corpses, evil media and music, promotion of violence adultery sexual immorality and greed.  Things are so bad it just is not funny anymore.  Rape is at an all time high and everywhere I turn I see gay people !!!  yo mad people are gay its freaking crazy.  yo we got dudes popping other dudes and little boys in the butt 24/7 365.  the immorality these day is off the charts.  anybody who thinks things are ok today has a nothing in between the ear. you gotta be real stupid not to see that something huge is going to happen.
So evidently I'm one of the ones who has a nothing in between the ear, because I am certain it's a fake.  Look up the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  There is no Representative John Haller.  That alone should be enough, wouldn't you think?

At least one guy agrees with me:
Fuck's sake, people.  It's satire.  The Onion, you know?  Satire?  Meaning fake?  Hello?
 But he was immediately shouted down by the likes of the following rocket scientist:
I think it's quite funny that the majority of those saying this is fake all have blank profiles almost as if they were created just to argue the legitimacy of this video...
And the following:
Sounds like they have a plan if there's a biological outbreak they mite of created something that can be air born and something about flesh eating hmm and if this is true some one must of got their hands on it and preparing in chase they release it on the public for some reason zombie popping in my head head there experimenting rabbits on people and that there's a part in your brain that could make you so violent that your almost like a ghoul.
Yes!  That's it!  Zombie popping in your head head there experimenting rabbits on people!  Why didn't I think of that as an explanation?  It's brilliant!

So you see why I don't have a lot of trust in the citizenry of the United States, and their ability to vote in leaders that aren't batshit insane?

We have people here who, even when given repeated reassurances that a video that is obviously a fake is, well, a fake, they still insist that it must all be a giant conspiracy to keep them in the dark about ghouls and radiation and diseases and underground facilities and the Second Coming of Christ.

Whenever I think I've plumbed the absolute depth of idiocy, I find that there are deeper wells that I have yet to explore.  As the quote attributed to Einstein puts it:  "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

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