Buyer Beware

I have never been one to be infatuated with the dubious. I am indeed an aficionado of Science fiction. But that’s different; you are suspending disbelief for a good read. And in the best cases, your mind is stimulated by exciting concepts. So no, it’s genuinely dubious things that I can’t abide.

I’ve known intelligent Ph.D.’s pick up the scandal sheets found on the checkout lines at supermarkets. The transparently untrue stories of abductions to Mars and brindled alien-human hybrids would be absorbed with great relish. But then the paper would go back in the rack—just an amusing entertainment.

But in recent years, whole political and social discourse areas have taken on a sort of Sci-Fi bent. But it’s lousy Sci-Fi. The sort of stuff written in the nineteen-thirties for pulp magazines with titles like – STUPENDULOUS TALES.

Editors use a special mark to indicate dubious or suspect passages in a text. This is it: . It’s called an obelus, and its usage is ancient. It seems that people have been writing dubious stuff from the very beginning. But now the stuff going into STUPENDULOUS TALES goes out to millions every hour, not hundreds in the whole world. So the stories have titles like Vaccine destroys your D.N.A., or the Global warming hoax, and you.

Unlike my friend who enjoyed the stories in the tabloids but put them back in the rack, people are absorbing them as truth and spreading the untruths. So all this stuff should be labeled with an obelus.

A not quite friend of my youth was a con artist. He claimed that the motivations for buying into a con are most often found among the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, and pride.

Greed and sloth were the most profitable ones he maintained. People were greedy and, at the root, lazy and uninterested in investigating or thinking things through.

He also pointed out that con artists don’t want to waste their time. They have an action plan that has to lead to a payout. They want to get you to do something or get your money. They are not there to sway your opinion because they like you and want to spend quality time with you.

So maybe if you regularly visit sites that ask you for money or do certain things, you might consider what their payout is and why they are targeting you?

Never before has the old saying “let the buyer beware” been so relevant.

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