Man, yesterday’s Gibberish got 15 hits. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot because it really, really ain’t – and I’m not even sure how much traffic Blogger sees these days, comparatively – but it’s the most I’ve gotten in one day on one post since I started writing again. Is it because I had “Christmas” labeled? I guess so. And, of course, the News at the WordPress sight scored a goose egg.
I tell you what, though. I ought to start me a job teaching Southern men creeping up on elderly how to wrestle with the amorphous beast that’s become the modern news media. It’s just too much for them, apparently, not just the wealth of news sources available, it’s figuring out how to deal with how obnoxious they’ve all become. “How do you know who to trust,” they ask me.
Well, that’s simple. You don’t trust anyone. You trust yourself. You trust your ability to reason and to recognize your own biases. You keep in mind who’s paying for it and what else they’re buying. You understand everyone has to make a living. And finally, remember that it’s behooves you to realize that it’s better to chalk reasons up to “being stupid & greedy” rather than “pushing an ideology & wanting to take over the world”.
One of these days I’m going to pull that all together into something coherent, something like Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection kit“. I’ll give you this one for free, though. Each and every source of news on God’s green Earth, magazine or online, has one thing on their mind, and that’s making that money. Even the ideological bent, no matter how subtle, no matter how vulgar, care more about keeping the stuff rolling in. It doesn’t mean this or that, specifically, just keep it on your mind, all the time.
Whew, son. I was looking for a YouTube link to that Hank Williams song and came across some of the LP releases with instrumentation and background singers added. Stuff like “Keep It On Your Mind” was cut for a demo or home recording, but after Hank died, MGM churned out a couple, three records of demo stuff and kept making money. This was recorded in 1952 but wasn’t released until 1954’s “finished” version on the album Honky Tonkin’. Otis Redding got that treatment, as well, but his posthumous stuff was presented better, partly because of Steve Cropper. I love me some Hank Williams, but all my stuff is what they release now and no one these days wants to own up to putting strings on Hank Williams songs.
But I digress. I bring up the business about how to navigate the media – I really need to think of a clever name for that – is because both my uncle and my cousin’s oldest boy asked me just that tonight at the Whole Family Christmas supper. For what it’s worth, we eat a big meal of country food, give the little kids little presents, and then some of us play Dirty Santa. Usually, I skip that as does this uncle and that cousin.
Now, my family is fairly conservative. They’re not the screaming nutjobs the rural, heavily Pentecostal Baptist Deep South sometimes produces, but they are pretty conservative, especially compared to me. They’re also more or less apathetic to the world outside Itawamba County so long as you don’t shake their tree. They’ve been compared to Hobbits in the Shire: pastoral, reclusive but friendly, family oriented, unconcerned with outside world, and roundish with huge feet.
What’s interesting is how often I’ve heard them say they’re recognizing why they shouldn’t always take Fox News as gospel anymore. And it’s not a lean towards more wingnutty stuff like OAN News or The Epoch Times and I don’t if it’s a general swing away from what the GOP’s become, particularly under Trump. It’s fun talking politics with my family because I know how to keep it pretty chill and make them tell on themselves. They’re not going to all become BernieBros anytime soon, but they all wonder if putting that guy in the White House was something they should’ve allowed to happen.
Again, that’s no guarantee you’ll see any huge, tectonic shift in Mississippi politics any time soon, but I do think people who aren’t in for the long haul are getting tired of the noise and the nonsense. “Surely he’s smart enough to not get caught or not assume he’d get caught.” Maybe think he just might not be, Unk, and study on why that is and what could be done.
In any event, I had a good time visiting with my extended, loud family and glad that while the Earth rolls on, we’re fine. Hopefully, y’all are, as well, or as close as you can get, anyway.