A hole in the space-time continuum. (Notes by M.C. O'Connor.)
08 May 2007
Ernest Hemingway is reputed to have said that every writer needs a "built-in, shockproof crap detector." I see this attributed to him in lots of places, but I never bothered to do the research to find out if he actually did say it. Nonetheless it is part of Heming-lore, and it is as connected to our image of him as are bullfights and big-game hunts. I think it is a lovely phrase, and terribly truthful. Sometimes I look back over stuff I've written and a loud, grating CLANK goes off and I think--did I say that? I know my crap detector doesn't always work, but when it does it is like eating something nasty from an hors d'ouevre tray at a party. You have to maintain your cool, but you want to spit the stuff out. And you can't believe you didn't have better sense. The internet is a wonderful thing, no? The information density we have at our fingertips is astonishing, and if I think about it too much I get woozy. But M.C.'s Law sez that Bullshit flow is directly proportional to Information density, or BSf/Id = constant. We need bigger and better crap detectors in the 21st century because much of the fruit of the Information Age is rotten. This brings me to one of my favorite websites--Snopes. These guys are the Crap Warriors of Cyberspace and they are doing important work. I'm sure they get things wrong, but I love their thoughtful skepticism and their passionate desire to get the facts straight. M.C. sez "check 'em out."