The War on Errorism

Last night a friend and I were having a nice dinner before going to see a Yo La Tengo show (excellent performance btw, check them out on You Tube if you get a chance). Discussing how our days went, she had brought up that she was having a business lunch with one of her clients and a couple co-workers. They were talking about their industry and how it was a "perfect storm" that the economy had fallen apart so quickly along with a downturn in their industry's performance. One of her co-workers, who has obviously never been in an actual business/social situation, brought up an interesting email that she had just read about the President and the brewing of another "perfect storm". The email alluded to the election of President Obama on the basis of "change" and then went on to compare the current state of the United States to Germany in the 30's. It concluded with many similar correlations between Obama and Hitler.

Notwithstanding the obvious faux-paw of my friend's co-worker of mixing politics with social situations, let alone business ones, combined with the fact that my friend is half-Jewish, it amazed me that this person would actually not only repeat this, but present this as fact without a little fact checking. So I did my own. The article she was referring to was actually an email from a Harvard professor entitled History Unfolding. He obviously has his credentials and knows what he is talking about:

David Kaiser is a respected historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European Warfare to American League Baseball. Born in 1947, the son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C., Albany, New York, and Dakar, Senegal. He attended Harvard University, graduating there in 1969 with a B.A. in history. He then spent several years more at Harvard, gaining a PhD in history, which he obtained in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976. He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United States Naval War College and has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Williams College and Harvard University. Kaiser’s latest book, The Road to Dallas, about the Kennedy assassination, was just published by Harvard University Press.

And here is an excerpt of the correlation between Obama and Hitler:
As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s In those times, the “savior” was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative “losers” read it right now.

Seems pretty consistent, right? Except for the fact that the "email" was a fraud and was debunked by the author himself shortly afterward. On his blog of the same name as the email, Dr. Kaiser (it was incorrectly stated that he is not a doctor, but his comment proved my lack of research, so much for the post!?!) informs us:

The first two sentences, beginning, "For the past thirty years," were of course written by me; the rest of the email was not written by me. Its views are in many ways the opposite of my own. It is apparently some sort of conservative disinformation campaign, quite possibly the work of a single individual, designed to muddy the political waters by falsely attributing views to others. I obviously regret the deception.

OMG! Something fake on the internet! Alert the internet police. Seriously though, if you've made it this far into this post you have probably already heard or read this story. The comparing of Obama to Hitler is nothing new.

Websites like Obama Is Literally Hitler make radical comparisons all the time, ranging from the subtle: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Castro being nominated for a Nobel Peace prize (none of them won, and if you do your research, basically anyone can nominate someone for the prize), to the absurd: Hitler also had a white Mother.

But this is not my beef. Of course the internet is riddled with opinions and false truths. This is nothing new to most of us, except when it comes to a reader finding something that supports their extremist views, be it right or left. It's amazing when someone finds something that is questionably fake that they will totally ignore researching the source or facts within and start mass-mailing everyone to share in the "great reveal" that they have just discovered. The greatest fail is that most of these people are actually well educated. But in their spree to "teach" others, they forget the basic principals of their higher education.

Even as an art major I had to write multiple research papers for my art history classes, and having one of the most respected Art Historians in the country as my professor, he didn't just put up with turning in any old fluff and bullshit. Many nights were spent in the library, scouring through articles and books, checking my facts to support my arguments. So when I hear that someone is spreading the "truth" of something they found on the internet it astounds me. It took me all of 10 seconds to not only find the email that my friend's co-worker was talking about, but also that it was fake.

So please, do not take this post as support or decent against our President. It is not about right or left wing hypocrisy. I'll leave that to people like Rush Limbaugh, who thought that he was not being talked about enough in the mainstream media so he popped his fat melon into the world of the NFL and once showed us that, yes, it is all about you Rush. For the same reasons that Rush will not be an owner of a pro football team, you should research and educate yourself on something before you start spewing opinion as fact. Learn from people like my friend's co-worker and don't make yourself into a self-righteous, uninformed asshole.

Now if you excuse me, I have to write an a post about how Jimmy Clausen is the new Joe Montana.

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