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Bubble Wrap, Trump and My Foray Into "Fake News"

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

The Running of the Bulls in San Miguel (La Sanmiguelada) took place before my time. It was a great tourist attraction, drawing, by some estimates, close to 50,000 visitors its last year. As is so often the case, its success was its undoing. (In this regard we might consider SMA's "Best City" status and the near impossibility of driving through town most weekends.)

The event as described by The Herald Mexico:

"The eight 1,000-pound training bulls originally chased participants over a several-block course while thousands watched from barricades. In recent years, the action has been confined to the streets and plaza on the four sides of the Jardín, allowing the participants to encircle tired bulls for more than an hour, pulling their horns and tails and snapping at them with red scarves."

Mexican national television broadcast the event live.

From Mexico Less Traveled:

"For most however, the attraction is not necessarily running with the bulls, but the wild three day party surrounding it. Though very few young women actually enter the barricades to run with the bulls, many, many of them are on the sidelines to cheer on their boyfriends or to perhaps to meet their future love. At the Pamplonada in San Miguel, like the Fort Lauderdale at spring break, many of the 'rules' are thrown aside, and the boy-girl alchemy is running at its peak."

The problem, as it was explained to me, the reason why the city council has canceled the Sanmiguelada back in 2007, was public drunkenness and fornication, and urine, from overflowing port-a-potties, running downhill from the Jardin.

Last week I published what was, to me, at least, an obviously satirical article about the "Sanmiguelada, [having] found a new home in the defunct shopping center Plaza Real del Conde." (If you have a few minutes more, please read it here The Running of the Bulls Returns to San Miguel.) Thousand pound bulls running through the polished walkways of that centro commercial was an image too good to pass up. The "march of progress" that has largely left behind that sad, little mall is the same modernity that has entirely abandoned the running of the bulls. How wonderful, then, to imagine these two passé icons of San Miguel, through their union, rising like phoenixes.

Before going to press, when I added the line "public drunkenness and fornication" to the author's article as reasons why the event was cancelled. He wrote me back: "Please drop the parenthetical about drunkenness and fornication as it isn't supported by the facts in the article and borders on conjecture (though we all know that drunkenness and urination in the streets was common.)" I thought that his insistence on factuality in a satirical piece was quaint; we can make things up, but as we do so let's stick to the facts.

Some readers were unimpressed by the juxtaposition of modernity and tradition, or the quaintness. Others, as we knew they would, missed the satire completely, taking the article for actual news, despite our disclaimer at the article's end: "[This article ] is a complete fabrication for entertainment purposes only..." People skip the small print.

What I didn't consider in publishing the piece was the current hyper-political climate. This was brought home to me by emails from two readers.

The first:

"In this day of innumerable accusations of fake news and the general atmosphere that journalism is under a severe attack everywhere, to publish a total fiction reading as fact is irresponsible, in my opinion. The little clarification at the bottom may or may not be seen by readers. As the publisher, you must assume that it won't be seen and then assess the potential danger from there.

You and I both know that this town thrives on misunderstanding and unfortunately gossip, please don't be a vehicle for this in any manner. It is unbecoming to your fine work. Conversely, continue to be the magazine that communicates the scene, informs the public about real important issues, and builds bridges amongst the population."

The second:

"It was very upsetting to discover that you are now publishing 'funny' fake news on the site, such as the one about San Miguelada. In this era of not being able to trust news sources, I think it is a very bad idea that you might want to reconsider. I know a lot of other people on my FB feed thought is was real, and others were upset as I was. Other than that, the site is a fantastic resource."

The journalistic axiom is that for every reader who writes there are dozens more who feel the same way.

*******

I have been advised not to talk about politics in public, mostly by girlfriend at our stall in the Saturday Market. As a publisher and business person in the community I know better than to alienate readers or potential customers. Still, throwing caution to the wind... risking that it may be gasoline, not water, which I throw upon the fire, here goes.

I worry about Trump. But I also worry, and worry more, about what got Trump elected, and I don't mean the ignorance of a bunch of "hill-billies" in that "wilderness" between the East and West Coasts. In my opinion, what got Trump elected were the people in the deep-blue bubbles (including the media) along the East and West Coasts, who think that people who voted for Trump are ignorant hill-billies. I worry that the 2020 presidential election will be determined by the 2020 Summer Olympics, in which biological males (formerly known as "men"), that is, people with male genitalia and greater muscle mass, especially upper-body strength developed from their years of greater exposure to testosterone, will be allowed to compete against biological females (formerly known as "women"). I worry that the spectacle of "men" collecting a great deal of the medals in "women's" events (as is already occuring in non-Olympic competitions) will so disgust the greater mass of Americans that Trump will be re-elected.

A leftist by inclination, I worry about "the catastrophic failure of the left". I worry about the way the left has shut down discussion, through deplatforming their opponents. The mantra of these activists is "Freedom of speech is violence." Calling anyone who disagrees with you racist, misogynist or homophobic, is alienating a lot of people in the middle, and most everyone is in the middle. Marx wrote, "Unite all who can be united." In my opinion, people didn't vote for Trump; they voted against the divisive identity politics of the extreme left.

I know that fake news is a problem. But fake news is not news That is, it is not anything new.

"Frederic Remington, the famous artist who brought to life American images of the west was hired by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to illustrate the revolution erupting in Cuba. He wrote back to Hearst one day in January 1897:

'Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return.'

Hearst sent back a note: 'Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war.'"

From Medium

During another breaking of the rule against talking politics, last Saturday in the market, a sympathetic visitor to our fair city asked me if I knew what "bubble-wrap" meant. He explained, "One can understand, perhaps, sheltering children from controversy, but now there are adults who cannot tolerate debate. They must be bubble-wrapped to protect them from the least offense." He continued, "Advertisers are studying how to market to this growing segment of the population."

And, quoting Hamlet, "Aye, there's the rub." I cannot publish a harmless, satirical, completely apolitical piece, because today everything is political. Everything (racism, sexism, gender politics, climate change - see the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate) is presented as a crisis that justifies any action and prohibits any dissent. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that if we are going to defeat Trump or fix the climate, then we need to be able to discuss things civilly. What we need is consensus, not students behaving badly on college campuses.

*******

After receiving the emails from readers advising me against fake news, my Facebook Lokkal page received, from someone I do not know, who lives in Aguascalientes, a negative review over the same issue. (Translation below.)

Fer Laguna: FRAUD! This page is only dedicated to creating false news affecting businessmen and businesses for the benefit of the swindler Dr. David! You should be ashamed!

Lokkal [Me]: At the end of the article he says that the article is not true. The article is a joke, satire. No one is hurt. No one benefits, except maybe with a laugh. Relax friend. You do not know me or my site.

Fer Laguna: You're a asshole. Yes, you affect the public by creating your fake news in order to earn a few likes. First learn to write satire before publishing your bullshit. Apart you left quite a few spelling errors. You're a shame. You should dedicate yourself to something more productive.

Moisés Alzuro: Fer Laguna friend, I just read the article and at the end it clearly shows that it is not real.

Shirley Barboza: Fer Laguna, in Lokkal.com you can also find optical services, ophthalmology, among others, to make reading easier for you, (in case you already know how to read).
You can also find Spa, psychology and aromatherapy services so that you can learn to control anger. greetings.

[Disclaimer: Moises and Shirley, the nicest people you could ever meet, are my assistants.]

If you believed my silly article about running the bulls through a shopping mall, then you are silly. That's ok. I'm silly, too. It was silly of me to print the article. I don't think that I will be engaging in any more such silliness, but if I do I will write the disclaimer large and boldly, so you won't have to read the fine print. Now, let's all take a deep breath, smile and remember our capacity for being silly and that you can't cure hatred with more hate. As Leonard Cohen sang to us, "Love's the only engine of survival."

**************


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David has invested years of his life and more money than he cares to reckon into his global Lokkal project, an event calendar and searchable directory/business network for towns and cities around the world, combining aspects of Facebook, Google and Trip Advisor. Think: Digital Town Square. Think: the yellow pages for the new millenium. See more. A madman crying in the wilderness for years, reinforcements are recently arriving, the A team is assembling and preparations to launch in other cities are being made, gracias a dios. Interested?

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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