I was involved in a blog conversation recently on the subject of “fake news.” The Darn-Poor Rhymer (the part of my alter ego which likes to write very bad verse) was inspired to write this parody of Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage.” At first, I thought that what I had written was no more than a piece of fun; but it wasn’t long before I realized that there were some deeper truths in there too. So, I re-present it here for your enjoyment.
Is all the Net a fake?
Are all the so-called “experts” merely liars?
They have their tricks and clever arguments,
And one man in his time learns many arts.
His thoughts move in six stages. First, the newbie,
His gaze, his ear, his mind glued to the screen,
Believing all he’s told. And then the troll,
Crying “fake news,” and “bull,” and “balderdash,”
Annoying and insulting all in range,
Until no-one will listen. Then the follower,
Seeking for wisdom in the godless depths
Of someone else’s arcane religion,
While parroting its credos. Then the warrior,
Shouting his narrative at top of voice,
Augmenting it with copious references
To sources just as biased as himself,
Using his subtle tricks and clever ruses
To seek to sow the seeds of doubt and guilt,
And rarely giving ground to others’ views;
But never once considering the thought
That it might be him, not his opponent,
Who’s got it wrong. The fifth stage shifts
To the truth seeker, doing what he can
To find the facts, and piece together truths,
And spread these truths to those willing and able
To listen to them. Sixth comes the free man.
Able to govern self, to live and let live;
Free from all need for politics or laws,
Free from all wish for violence or aggression,
Free from desire to lie, insult or slur,
Reciprocating others’ tolerance,
And judging people, not by who they are,
But what they do. Way back in Shakespeare’s time
There was a seventh stage, of slow decline;
But as I look out, it’s a sunny day,
And so, I think, that’s all I have to say.