Today's Obsession: Everyone Lies

A screengrab of a tweet (now removed) from Sarah Palin's Twitter feed taken last March.

I’m sure nearly everyone reading from the U.S. Today has strong feelings about the shooting over the weekend, and you should. Events like this embarrass me; they reinforce so many nasty stereotypes about who Americans are. But the thing that galls and embarrasses me most was the way this whole thing unfolded politically across Facebook.

First thing I saw about the shooting was the above image being circulated by some of my leftier friends. That’s from Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed, which isn’t surprising, but note the timestamp: nine hours ago. It points to the crosshair-scattered map of the U.S. on her Facebook page.

That post is from March of last year, not nine hours before anything that happened this weekend. That sort of willful masking of the facts is incredibly embarrassing; I’d hope the lefties and centrists of the country would rise above the same sort of false rhetoric the Fox News crazies throw out there. But, apparently, everyone’s out to push their own agenda.

To make this whole thing even more distasteful, the Palin camp quickly removed that tweet from their timeline. (It seems to have not been picked up in the news.) Now they’re trying to claim that the map on her Facebook post doesn’t have crosshairs on it, they’re surveyor’s marks—which is an obvious lie to those who saw the tweet which was timed to promote that post.

The reason I find this whole thing relevant to this column is that I am deeply interested in how the online world changes how we communicate as professionals. It makes everything into more of a conversation. Seeing folks trying to change this from a conversation about the sorts of political rhetoric our country finds acceptable into a pile of agenda-driven lies on both sides, is so disappointing.

for a more visual take on that map, see Steve Heller’s post earlier.

4 thoughts on “Today's Obsession: Everyone Lies

  1. Brooke Heppinstall

    It’s good to see the graphic arts community discussing this issue.  Yes, Bob, respect is something we were taught in my generation.  Think before you speak.  When you’re in public you try to behave with respect and politeness.  Take Mr. Loughner out of the picture and this is really what people are talking about. 
    The 60’s and 70’s allowed us to vent in public for the first time.  It needed doing, but, there’s a price for everything.  Now we go ‘public’ on the net 24/7.  We go ‘public’ with our most inane conversations on our cell phones and invade each other’s space.  We invade personal space with our personal air pollution.  It’s the mess of living and the advent of technology’s newest new driving the bus. 
    The medium really is the message in our lives.  But, it’s quick and dirty and lends itself to short attention spans and adrenaline bursts.  I look at Jared Loughner and see Diane Arbus’ iconic photo of the little boy with the grenade in hand.  Arbus wanted us to be repulsed by this image.  Now, it’s just commonplace on the internet, in computer gaming, etc..  We’ve always had rebels and armed struggles in our popular iconography.  With Youtube these icons have been reduced to a video trip to the Wasilla Walmart or the Sportsman’s Warehouse across the highway.  It’s an everyday part of life.  Now, bringing a firearm to a political rally or even the State Fair is becoming ‘acceptable’.  It is very worrisome. 
    Thank you for the wonderfully accessible comment box, would that all were this way.  And thank you for being so thoughtful on such a painful subject. 
    Brooke Heppinstall
    Palmer, Alaska
    ps…website’s down for work while this Luddite’s dragged kicking and screaming into the future. . .. On the upside, Palin’s idiotic reality show got cancelled!

  2. Robert Talarczyk

    Assassination Graphicsand Crossing the Line

    To Whom it may Concern…  

    Graphic Professionals and Advertisers alike all over the country may want to take a look at what they all have contributed to graphically create THESE DAYS.  If you think making a living in the New Normal is tough, just continue to put politics and greed (Democrats, Republicans, Independents or whatever) ahead of your country…then see how tough it will be to make a living. It is leading us to the brink of anarchy.  People in our profession need to take greater responsibility for the long-term consequences of their professional actions. We do not need more laws and oversite. There used to be an invisible line that you would never cross… it was called respect…which was something that was taught when you were growing-up. Today, their is no line of respect by many so-called professionals in media and the creators within it. Turn on the radio and TV hate programming  to see from station to station…  violence, disrespect, no morality along with  irresponsible sponsors with negative advertising displaying fear, anger and mayhem… all in one great package. Is that what these people are trying to achieve graphically?  Do you really want to play a part in this scenario?  About six major conglomerates now control and approve just about all our media. We need not fear outside terrorists, they are born and raised right here in the good old USA. They are mostly demons with anger issues. Take some personal responsibility in what you are doing so a 9 year old female patriot, a Navy astronauts’ wife, an honest judge, campaign staffers and senior citizens will not be assassinated because of their political interests and beliefs! I do not know about you, but this is not the professional road I want to travel. I am at the point where I want to shut-off my TV and turn off my radio. Life is a series of choices and we are all playing a part in these events.

    Bob Talarczyk,
    CEO, Creative Director
    Dark Horse Design, 
    Santa Fe, NM, USA

  3. Patric King Post author

    hi rach — i actually got this from about five other people, but never you, so that means others uploaded as well.

    i don’t think the date change changes the implications of her language. but i do think the change of date marks a nastiness of people willing to agenda-izing events.

    it reminds me of the rumor that obama’s trip to mumbai was going to cost something like 200 million a day, a rumor that came from nowhere, but got upheld as truth by those who wanted to believe it.

    similarly, i saw several people upholding this as something palin said on the 7th, the day before the assault.

  4. rachael

    I’m one who posted that image to fb, but with the original timestamp of march. I don’t think it takes changing of dates to make a correlation that Palin’s incendiary and aggression encouraging hate speech certainly might encourage the more unbalanced individual to take ugly action.