April 16th, 2014

Mister Cranky-pants

Missing Context

Dear Internet,

I have a favor to ask. The next time you read a "news item" about something crazy and outrage-inducing, please try to remember two things:

1) The odds are really good that it wouldn't seem nearly as crazy and outrageous if you knew the whole story.

2) There's a whole industry devoted to distorting the truth into something that will get you all worked up so that you click on the link and share the story and put more eyeballs in front of advertisements.

HOW could some guy be such an INGRATE as to sue the emergency responders who saved him? Well, it turns out he doesn't really want to -- it's not like he thinks anybody did anything wrong -- but lawsuits are how insurance companies sort out which of them will pay for what, and since the guy has a hundred thousand bucks in medical bills that his insurance company won't pay as long as there's a chance that some other insurance company might do it... either he files the lawsuit, or he goes bankrupt.

WHY would some guy file a MILLION-DOLLAR lawsuit over being given only a single napkin? Well, he didn't. He filed a lawsuit because he only got one napkin, and when he asked for some more, the manager said no, you already got one, and then said something racist about "you people" (the guy is black, by the way). So he's not filing a lawsuit because he's upset about the napkin, he's filing a lawsuit because he's upset that the manager got all racist at him, and that when he complained, he didn't get an apology, just an offer of some free burgers.

WHAT is WRONG with this school that's banning tag and cartwheels and anything fun during recess? Well, it turns out the ban was temporary, while construction was going on. Construction that had made most of the playground unavailable. And there had already been multiple injuries. So it's not a case of some bleeding-heart administrator being out of touch and overprotective, it's the principal being sensible and saying "look, we've got four dozen kids trying to play six different sports in a space the size of a postage stamp, and we've already had three bloody noses this week, so until construction is done, no running and no ballgames on the playground."

Et cetera.

Please to be remembering this the next time you read about something that seems too crazy to be true. It's probably not. It's probably just some jerk with an agenda withholding information to try to get you all worked up about it. Which is rude and bad for you, and you shouldn't play along.