True Fakes

March 23rd, 2017

Within what purport to be news stories there are other stories. If the facts are real, it’s not hard to imagine what might come next, what we might expect. If the facts are imaginary, it’s not hard to see what the writer intends, what we are intended to believe.

Sometimes all of that is in a story.

As published in The Memphis Daily News, March 24, 2017, and in The Memphis News, March 25-31, 2017



These days, fake news can seem so real, and real news gets more and more unbelievable.

I offer recent local, state and national examples. 



You may have noticed the activity on the other side of the fence behind Rainbow Lake, removing bothersome trees and habitat and other impediments to progress that have been in the way for millennia – all part of the Memphis Zoo’s initiative to “Pave the Path to Tomorrow,” according to zoo president and CEO, Chuck Brady. “While the Overton Park Conservancy and their Frisbee throwers prefer outdated terms like ‘Old Forest’ and ‘Greensward,’ we prefer shiny and new, and nothing says progress like the smell of shiny new asphalt going down and customers streaming in to park.” The work behind Rainbow Lake is for a new attraction called Nile Landing, creating a concrete boat ramp and parking area for boats. Each space will be 25’ by 50’ and require the elimination of 10 more acres of Old Forest. “We anticipate storing mostly canoes and kayaks, but we have to accommodate the occasional visitor who wants to park their yacht here and have room to board on all sides.” He said that while he has not yet asked the City Council for the additional acreage, past experience dictates that, “it won’t be a problem.”



The Tennessee Legislature today passed a new bill prohibiting deciding for yourself, requiring any city, town, village, hamlet – any gathering of two or more anywhere where anything will be discussed – to submit any conclusions drawn or any action proposed to the legislature for approval. Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga are to immediately dissolve their various annoying governing bodies – Knoxville, too, if it doesn’t behave – “That’s where the troublemakers are,” said Senator Mae Beavers, (R., Mount Juliet, or somebody like Mae Beavers from somewhere like Mount Juliet), “cities are full of them and I think you know who I mean.” Mayors across the state are now honorary positions, “You know, like colonels in Kentucky,” said one of the bill’s sponsors (R., the name doesn’t matter, they’re all pretty much alike). Next week, a companion bill will be considered that prohibits thinking for yourself.


Washington, D.C.

Complementing his earlier executive order requiring that two regulations be eliminated for every new regulation proposed, President Trump today signed a new executive order requiring that all new regulations be limited to 140 characters. The executive order itself is limited to 140 characters: “HORRIBLE. Regs too wordy. Who has time? All future regs no more than 140 characters, less even. Like POLLUTION BAD, STOP. Simple. Brilliant.” The president signed the order in front of the “largest crowd ever gathered in the oval office period,” according to press secretary Sean Spicer.

If you’re paying attention, these stories all fall into the category of – hey, it could happen – an increasingly popular measure of credibility.

I’m a Memphian, and that’s still true.


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