By Marta Mossburg
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Jan 29, 2013, 03:48 PM EST
It's past the deadline, but Time magazine should have made Manti Te'o the man of the year. In case you have been living in a hole the past week, Te'o is the star Notre Dame linebacker whose heartbreaking story of his grandmother and girlfriend dying within hours of each other in September made national headlines.
As it turns out, the girlfriend was not real, nor was her death. Te'o, a Heisman finalist, only knew "Lennay Kekua" online and through phone calls.
Multiple media outlets amplified Te'o's wrenching story without checking her validity until Deadspin.com broke the story of her non-existence.
The story is tantalizing for its embarrassing revelations about a revered college football player, but most importantly it encapsulates how fake is the new real in American life.
Like Te'o, millions of Americans spend hours online each day communicating with "friends" they never meet, investing months and sometimes years with those who not uncommonly turn out to be impersonators. The frauds and their victims even have a TV show, "Catfish."
Those under 30 do not talk to one another. Their phones are merely vehicles for texting and social media, which they use for everything high and low, including breaking up with "girlfriends" and "boyfriends" - with acronyms. INYIM, Ok?
As noted in a recent column, college freshmen rank themselves very high for their leadership ability, intelligence, and drive, but are no smarter than previous generations according to objective measurements. They also study a lot less.
Lest people attribute this to the immaturity and narcissism of youth, it is not.
Our whole culture is phony. We call a cocktail of poor health indicators in men "ED" and label the declining energy of men as they age "Low T." Ads for drugs to cure these "sicknesses" dominate primetime television.
Parents rush to diagnose rambunctious children with "ADD" and "ADHD" to get prescription drugs that make them easier to handle and the "free" personalized help from school systems to launch their children ahead of others.
We espouse hard work and resilience but are more dependent than ever on food stamps and disability insurance.
Even our heroes are frauds. World renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong denied for over a decade that he used performance enhancing drugs to help him win seven Tour de France titles, among other major victories. He recently admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he lied - and may even have obfuscated the full extent of his behavior in the interview according to reports.
To those for whom climate change is their animating cause, their leader, former Vice President Al Gore, also the writer of "An Inconvenient Truth," did the impossible. He sold his cable channel Current TV to Al Jazeera, owned by what people of Gore's persuasion would call "Big Oil."
We yearn for the "authentic" but buy fake handbags made in China, drink "craft" beers made by mega corporations and eat "heirloom grains" whose prices have been driven so high by western demand the indigenous people growing them can't afford to eat them.
Even the president is in on the game. During his second inaugural address he said, "The commitments we make to each other - through Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security - these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
What a beautifully rendered falsehood about three programs that virtually no economist of any political persuasion can deny are bankrupting the United States and jeopardizing both our economic health and national security.
To top it all off, pop star Beyonce lip-synched the national anthem at the inauguration.
How fitting a performance for a nation that cares more about image than reality.
- Marta H. Mossburg is an independent columnist. Contact her at email@example.com.
Will the current V.A. backlog on veterans’ compensation claims be the next scandal to hit the administration?
Currently, the backlog is at 865,000 plus compensation claims with a wait time of greater than 125 days.
June 18, 2013
Apparently, it is not enough to tolerate, accept, or even endorse the gay agenda. Now, unless you tolerate and accept criminal behavior committed by gays, you are a hater.
Believe it — that is the very public argument being made in behalf of Florida high school cheerleader Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, who faces criminal charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Word on the street and in the media is that it will be a really bad summer for mosquitoes. Or should I say, it will be a really bad summer for humans, because it will be a great year for thirsty mosquitoes.
June 14, 2013
As a Christian, I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor.
When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.
Ordinarily I don’t take requests, but a bunch of people have written to ask how I’m doing with my weight-loss surgery and I thought this might be the most efficient way to answer.
June 11, 2013
I am a grandmother who went to the Brownsburg graduation ceremony on June 7 and due to very poor planning on Brownsburg School’s part, I could not sit and watch my twin grandsons graduate in person. I was directed to an overflow room where I had to watch it on a TV screen and could not even take pictures.
What you are now hearing across the land is a collective whine. Blue-state Democrats are upset that Texas Gov. Rick Perry dares come and play in their sandboxes, and worse, threatens to “poach” jobs from their states.
The website Politico reports that Perry’s attempts to lure jobs to Texas are “infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.”
I am the first to admit I am behind the times when it comes to technology. I remember way back in the olden days of the 1990s when I was actually ahead of the game. Now there are second-graders that are more tech savvy than me. I just decided to stop my forward technological progression a few years back.
June 7, 2013
College graduates facing a crushing debt – some more than $100,000 – is a very big and a very real problem.
But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to deal with it won’t solve the problem. It is a cheap ploy to divert attention from the real problem.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
HBO and his managers say James Gandolfini -- best known for his role as Tony Soprano in the TV series "The Sopranos" -- has died in Italy at age 51.
June 19, 2013
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