10 June 2010
Day 75: Holes
A big thing they teach you about in library school is something called "information literacy." Or as I like to call it, "evaluate your damn sources before you use, abuse, or otherwise refer to them." One aspect of this is to question how information or advice (especially "free" advice) benefits the provider. For instance, my blog is free, but I'm sure as hell hoping to one day have some t-shirts with some awesome quotes from my blog that will bring in some money. And I hate to tell you this readers, but I might put up some advertising once I get enough followers to really justify it. I hope you'll all be good lemmings and do some clicking in order to help me out. No purchase necessary.
Anyway, what the hell am I talking about? In this book there is a short side story (Holes uses a method known as a frame tale) involving Sam the Onion Man and the doctor of Green Lakes, Texas. Sam prescribes onions for all ailments and problems, from baldness to boils to yellow-spotted lizard repellent. Apparently the good God-fearin' folk of back-in-the-day-pretend Texas go to both the doctor and Mr. Put-an-onion-on-that. Except for one woman whose child eats a bad piece of meat and only uses the onion treatment, rather than the ever popular leech method. Luckily for her, the onions work. And I'm sure Sam was an awfully nice fella and I certainly felt bad about his lot,
but he was sellin' you something.
I'm not saying you can't trust information just because someone is selling you something. I'm just saying you might want to dig a little deeper and figure out why they're giving you the information they are. I think this is particularly important regarding credit cards, loans of any kind, education, medication, surgery, politicians, and sadly, news. There aren't many people, organizations, companies, or entities out there that have your best interest in mind when they give you information. Most people are trying to sell you something, even if it's just, "My idea is the best, now eat it and vomit it back to someone else so they can eat it." (Mmm, warm information-vomitty goodness.) If you're going to eat someone else's dinner, just be damned sure there's nothing in it you object to. You just might find a cockroach in that delicious veggie burger* you're trying to chow down on.
*I'm not specifically picking on vegetarians or vegetarian causes here. As a former vegetarian I think I would be especially upset by finding a cockroach in something that's supposedly animal free.