Sunday, January 22, 2012

"It says here..."

I thought it was sort of odd that a number of websites were posting the news of Joe Paterno's death last night.  Odd, in that it hasn't happened.  I guess we can expect it soon; an 84-year-old with lung cancer, dispirited from recent events, probably does not have a long time ahead.  But how does it happen that someone decides to post information that is not 100% accurate?  If a reporter hears secondhand that a nurse came out of the coach's hospital room claiming that Paterno had passed, is that enough to go on and put out a bulletin?

Obviously not.

And the other day I got one of those web essays that are always going around.  This one was called "Bill Cosby Is Tired" and it listed some of things that purportedly are vexatious to the comic.  When you read it, it seems perfectly real, and written in that Cosby manner - slightly preachy, slightly funny - but when you go to Cosby's website, you see his denial of the whole thing.  You can't blame people for passing it along, but you have to wonder.  Deep at the heart of all this, someone is sitting somewhere at a keyboard, and they say, "Hmmm.  OK.  Let's see..we did Bill Gates's 'Advice To The Graduates' and George Carlin's '10 Ways that Soccer and Lacrosse Are Different' and Andy Rooney's 'Did You Ever Notice That Everything Tastes Better With Gravy On It?' " So what can I make up today?

I'm guessing there's an element of sadness in the creation of something falsely attributed to someone more famous...or an element of envy.  To the persons who create this fiction, I say, why not put it out under your own name and let it stand on its own merits?

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