Information: A Field Guide

We used to have just two kinds of information: true and false. This was apparently a quaint and primitive approach to information, because now we’re Baskin Robbins up in here with 31 flavors.

Why? We’re inundated with so much information today, we need a way to delineate the different kinds. It’s the same reason Eskimos have 50 different words for “snow.” You can imagine the issues that would arise if they used just one word for “igloo snow,” “pee snow,” and “lemon-flavored snow-cone snow.”

Well, we’re all living in houses of pee snow, and the only way to improve our existence is to learn the New Words. But this can be so daunting! Which type of information is best? What is a satire, and what is a fake news? Fortunately for us all, in my eternal quest to serve my faithful and virtuous readers, I have prepared a helpful guide to the most prominent kinds of information.

And rated them!

Disinformation: This particular information over here. (6/10; for proximity)

Datinformation: That particular information over there. (5/10; too far)

Malinformation: Information shared from a place of deep hatred and an abiding disregard for the human race. For example: The FDA allows up 30 insect parts per 100 grams of peanut butter. So about 150 per jar! I wonder what kind of insects? (8/10)

Misinformation: Like normal information, but female. (10/10; yass, slay queen)

Satire: A perfectly valid way to ridicule or disparage something without any basis in fact, so long as when you’re confronted you raise your hands, put on a clown nose, and yell, “It’s just a joke!” (8/10; very convenient)

News: A perfectly valid way to ridicule or disparage something without any basis in fact, so long as when you’re confronted you raise your hands, put on a blue checkmark, and yell, “Democracy dies in darkness!” (4/10; could be more amusing, generally)

Fake news: A perfectly valid way to ridicule or disparage something without any basis in fact, except that billionaires don’t like it. (5/10; definitely more amusing than normal news)

Conspiracy theories: Hard news articles on page 2 of The New York Times, but accidentally transported into the heads of crazy people two years earlier. (9/10; time travel is very impressive)

Propaganda: I have heard – and everyone else I know agrees with me – that propaganda is by far the best kind of information, purveyed by the handsomest of people. I wish I had a vault full of propaganda that I could Scrooge-McDuck myself into every morning! Personally, the only thing better than propaganda is the NEXT propaganda, am I right? (11/10; really the best)

Free speech: The worst kind of information of all. I’ve tried it once before, and frankly it didn’t agree with me. You get what you pay for! (0/10; would not speak freely again)

Hate speech: Information used to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group. So, normal speech. Generally encouraged. (7/10)

That should cover it. Now as we sojourn across the World Wide Web, we’ll all know how to navigate the treacherous seas of information without having to think for ourselves! Here, have a snow cone!

This article first appeared in the Duzett Gazette, the really official newsletter of Carl Duzett. Sign up here to get more content like this in your inbox, as well as some other content that isn’t quite like it, but is probably also good.

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