Where Not to Go for Information

Over years of fishing in Barnegat Bay, NJ, my wife and I caught hundreds of small sharks which we and everybody else called “smooth dogfish.” But were they really smooth-hounds? Could they have been the young of another kind of shark? Curious to find out, I consulted the Internet.

So what’s wrong with that?

A question-and-answer site called “Cha-Cha” blithely informed me that there are no sharks in Barnegat Bay. Yup, that’s the answer from the high-tech oracle. That the answer happens to be completely, 100% wrong would not be noticed by someone who had never fished in Barnegat Bay.

Above the stupid answer, among the ads by Google, was an exhortation to “vote for Peter Barnes,” Middlesex County, NJ, Democrat, because “He believes tax money should be used to fund education instead of CEOs’ retirement packages.”

“To fund education,” translated into English, means to pump colossal sums of money into the teachers’ unions, who will continue to support Democrat politicians by funneling union dues into political campaigns.

So the ad is no more truthful than the phony phacts on Cha-Cha, and certainly no more informative.

Or have we reached the stage in our cultural development where “to inform” means “to provide with false or incomplete information”?

P.S.–They were dogfish, all right. As my wife reminds me, they have the flat, shellfish-crunching teeth of dogfish. So I didn’t need the Internet for this, after all.

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