Thursday, April 28, 2011

"galloping disbelief"

Weird coincidence time. I had some floors to scrub today so I popped a CD of Jean Shepherd into the computer. If you aren't familiar with Shep, he was a radio host and raconteur from the 1950-1980s. The classic movie A Christmas Story is based on his work.

Well, many of his radio shows are available on CD now and I picked one at random - September 21, 1965 - and he began by complaining about a trend he saw in modern America: "galloping disbelief."

Why is it, he asked, that we assume all politicians are lying all the time? Sure, nobody tells the truth all the time, but the assumption that everything is a lie is weird.

A week before Shep had travelled to Peru and when he came back and started talking about it some people wrote to him (and this was postage stamp time, not email) to say that he was making the whole thing up. Why would he do such a thing? Why would they think he would?

The coincidence is that I happened to be listening to this the day after Obama released his birth certificate. And some people who claimed he was lying about being born in the USA continue to insist that the state of Hawaii is part of the vast conspiracy. I don't know if Shep would laugh or cry.

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