I hadn’t Tweeted in weeks, not since January 23rd, other than RTing an announcement that my buddy Daniel Ford’s book is coming out soon and that you ought to pre-order it, and that was a pure RT; I didn’t even add anything to what he’d said. But I couldn’t resist a quick RT of this picture of the Pope. It was fucking hilarious, and I didn’t see any harm in it; there’s no one out there who is going to go after me for the massive hypocrisy of Leaving Twitter and then jumping back for one silly RT of a viral image that made me laugh.
The Goddamn thing is completely fake, and I didn’t notice it, and that alarms the shit out of me. Not only did I not notice it, I didn’t even suspect it. Nothing about the image set off any kind of bullshit detector. Is it ridiculous? Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but it’s the Pope, and dressing ridiculously is kind of part of his thing. Granted, the last guy was worse about it than Francis, but … surely he goes outside when it’s cold, right? He has to have a coat. So maybe he has a ridiculous coat? Hell, I don’t know.
I had noticed his right hand, but it didn’t scream FAKE IMAGE to me, although I almost asked why he was holding a jar of syrup from IHOP when I RTed the picture. It just looks kind of funny, at least at first glance, like the angle is weird or something, and the hand is halfway inside the sleeve, after all. Only later (just before writing this, in fact) did I zoom in a bit and notice that his right eye and glasses are definitely not right and his right ear is partially doubled. But that and his hand are it. I can’t see anything else about the image that might have tipped someone off that it was fake other than that it’s ridiculous.
There were viral faked pictures of That Man being arrested circulating around earlier this week too, but those are all obvious fakes from the jump, but those are all immediately and obviously fake. Like, I’d make fun of you if you didn’t realize they were fake within a minute or two. And you’d deserve it. But this? This is fucking scary.
We are rapidly entering– hell, we are clearly there already– an era where “photographic proof” of something simply isn’t going to be possible any longer, and I don’t know what the world looks like when there’s no reason to even really try to prove things to people any longer. I don’t remember asking for this when I was looking forward to Living in the Future when I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure it can’t be stopped, and it can’t be avoided either.
So. Yeah. Despair it is.