Classic Approach to Truth When Facts Are Missing
There is nothing wrong with being curious, but before getting to the truth of a matter several levels of information must be explored. The first is general knowledge, the well-known surface information. Next comes what I call the mushy part of the truth sandwich. These are the little details, typically captured in our long-term memories then glued together to form a more detailed understanding. Finally, we apply healthy doses of examination and research to drill down to a molecular level where the atomic details of an event can be clearly seen. This brings us to the truth of the matter.
Lacking specific details and knowledge we often employ a process called interpolation to fill in the blanks. One example is motion-compensation frame interpolation (MCFI) in video editing to make animation more fluid or to increase or decrease motion. When frames are missing, software inserts faux frames to “guesstimate” what happened between each of the available frames. A great example of this is footage from the security camera at the Pentagon that captured the airplane crash there on 9-11. The jet was moving at a fast rate of speed and the camera was capturing only intermittent images resulting in a herky-jerky video that had precious little detail.
When newly minted QAnon House Representative of Georgia Marjorie Taylor Greene said that there was no proof that a plane hit the Pentagon, she should have said, “I didn’t see a plane hit the Pentagon.” To say a plane didn’t do the damage would require examination of the crash site at a molecular level to determine no pieces of a plane were there. Forensic crash experts know a plane was involved, but a blurry video has led to the birth of a conspiracy theory. We can’t see the coronavirus with our naked eyes, so some can and do believe it’s a hoax. To be clear, investigators did find a large section of the landing gear and the flight recorder in the building after the crash.
It’s human nature to use an initial burst of information to formulate a concept of the matter. As explained above, this typically leads to a very incomplete picture, but millions of rabid and engaged Twitter followers can easily morph bullshit into truth. Here an example from my own life that might shed some more light on this dark concept of theories. My brother used to live in Vero Beach, Florida and he worked out at a gym there. When pictures were released of the men who flew the planes into the World Trade Buildings, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, he immediately recognized several of the hijackers as men he regularly saw at his gym. He remembered saying to himself, “Why are those skinny Italian guys trying to get into shape?” I always thought the hijackers studied aviation and lived on the east coast of Florida. Just yesterday, I learned that is incorrect.
Commercial pilot wannabees are often drawn to Florida, where we have at least 250 flight training schools. Mohamed Atta was the mastermind behind the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001. It was Atta who flew the first plane into the World Trade building. Atta entered the United States on June 3, 2000, and he and a cohort enrolled at flight school in Venice, Florida. Wow, I didn’t know that, and I live there!
The Venice Municipal Airport is a small operation. Once used in World War II for the Air Force, it’s now a local facility for non-commercial planes — mostly the kind of single and twin-engine types that weekend pilots fly for fun. Now it’s true that some of the 9-11 hijackers did train in Palm County on the east side of state, but I didn’t realize my sleepy town had anything to do with that tragic day.
Most of us now accept there was an attempt to overturn the results of a fair and accurate United States presidential election. Many have dubbed what Trump tried to pull off as “the big lie.” Where did that phrase originate? Well, you can find the answer on the internet. The term was coined by Adolf Hitler and used in his 1925 book Mein Kampf. He used it to describe the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Do you see how that fits into the hardcore followers of Trump believing the election was stolen and thus the slogan “Stop the Steal?” It’s almost like Trump evaluated the potential of his lies by using the “Adolph Test.” If it was too outrageous to be believed, then Trump would launch the lie.
Drilling down to the molecular level, Trump lost the election by seven million votes. The election was not stolen. The plain truth is that many of the states where Trump lost the Electoral College votes usually vote Republican. It might be unfair to link Donald Trump’s big lie with the Hitler’s big lie that Germany lost World War I because of the Jews but think about it. Donald Trump’s big lie killed people.
The big lie that Covid-19 was not a crisis and would simply go away killed Americans. It was a lie, Trump knew it was a lie, but he said it anyway. He said the election was stolen from him and he won it by a “landslide.” Totally unbelievable, yet tens of thousands of his supporters came to Washington, attacked the Capitol and people died as a result. It wasn’t quite Hitler’s Operation Hummingbird, when the Nazi secret police killed as many as a thousand of Hitler’s political rivals, but it’s right out of that playbook.
Trump lost the election because everyone has been seriously affected by the global pandemic and most who voted against him believed that Joe Biden, the guy who was “hiding in his basement” and was always wearing a mask, would do a better job. Both Hitler and Trump failed to understand that some people will give you undying faith based on a lie, but they don’t want to die.
The lies, fantasies and conspiracy theories of QAnon and the Trump base, are too unbelievable to believe. Did the CIA and FBI fail us on 9-11? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that the attack was planned by the US government. Are Democrats going to do more to help people of color and build a stronger middle class? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they eat babies. The more I think, the more details of Trump’s life I remember. Many nights while lying in bed with his first wife, Donald John Trump read Adolf Hitler’s speeches. We know this because his ex told us. Why would Ivana Marie Trump, an eastern European by birth, lie to us about that?
One might speculate that Ivana and Trump’s current wife, Melania, also from eastern Europe, are spies planted to corral him, control his mind and direct him in a long-term plan of serving the Russia oligarchs. On the other hand, maybe those speeches by the Führer penetrated his brain and he wanted to be like his hero. Come on now, it’s just a theory based on extraordinarily little evidence, but, hey, it’s a classic component of effective storytelling — the more fantastic and quotable, the better.
A theory too unbelievable to be true will be repeated more often than something that gets the response, “I knew that.” When I am presented with additional facts, I am open to understanding a different truth, but after all the election lawsuits and in-depth investigation I lean to the “big lie” being exactly that. I do wonder about Rudy Giuliani. He was there for 9-11, so is he part of that conspiracy as well? He was an early arrival at the crime scene. Irony here, readers, pure irony.
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