“Fake News”, or How to Know You’re Winning an Argument

The other day, Dr S gave a reasoned, well-thought out response to my criticisms of the Society of Jesus. While there are excellent academics among the Jesuits, there’s a lot more to that order that many of us don’t know about.

In the video below, I will take a few moments make mention of their cryptic nature. (More information will follow in due time.) It is this crypsis which bothers me, perhaps more than anything else, simply because it is contrary to what our Lord and Saviour Himself said about His own preaching. Towit: “I said nothing in secret”.

As to the argument at hand (i.e. how to know when you’re winning the argument), I give you none other than Pope Francis 0, who, coincidentally enough, is a Jesuit. Anyway, the other day His Holiness said that “Fake News” was responsible for the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/24/world/pope-condemns-fake-news/index.html

Now, I don’t dispute that assessment in and of itself, however it is rather comical that the Pope chose to use one of the dominant tropes of President Trump to get his point across. Worse for him, he did it in such a clumsy manner that it left him open to derision.

What the Pope did was not invalid –rhetorical jiu-jitsu is commonly practiced, often to great effect. However he didn’t pull it off with the necessary panache and thus it looked like a desperate effort at pandering. Worse, it validated Trump’s dominance. As many have observed, “Trump lives rent-free in the minds of liberals everywhere”.

Anyway, some random thoughts below as to Pope Francis’ appropriation of the Fake News meme, the insidiousness of secret societies in general and for the cherry on top, the suspicion that the Democrat Party has been infiltrated by a nefarious cell of GOP operatives.


  1. Greatly Saddened says

    GM … did I happen to hear you correctly, there is no need for secrecy within the Church? Oh, my God! I guess someone should let the GOA know.

    On a more serious note, I thought Congressman Joseph Kennedy is scheduled to give the Democrats’ response to President Trump’s State of the Union address.

    By the way, you didn’t seem hindered by not having your pipe, cigar or cup of coffee accompany you!

    Another great vlog … kudos and as always … God bless!

    • Greatly Saddened says

      GM … there seems to have been a change, Congresswoman Maxine Waters is being shunted off to the Black Entertainment Television network representing the Democrats in their response to President Trump’s State of the Union address, while Congressman Joseph Kennedy is being given the prime time slot for a wider audience main stream response.

      In addition, the party has also asked Virginia state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, to deliver the party’s formal response in Spanish.

    • GS

      I repectfully disagree some about the distractions

      I’m an experienced public speaker and I know some people don’t like certain things while others don’t mind. George Burns wouldn’t have been George Burns without the cigar, right? That being said, George Burns wasn’t for everyone. Sam Kinison certainly was not and neither is Ron White.

      I find nothing wrong with drinking, smoking etc. Fidgeting or saying umm ahh are problems

      If George ever allows posting video comments back, you might find me ranting with drink and my brand in hand . . .

      Another respectful request, GS

      I was reading your comment to my lady and she asked if I would ask you to avoid using the Lord’s name in vain as it bothered her

      Seeing that you are much more a Christian and gentleman than myself, you can imagine what a rough time she has trying to smooth out my edge . . .

      But seeing that our relationship is a total anomaly – and she is far far above me and totally out of my league, I’m talking Marilyn Monroe with Jabba the Hut comparatively – I’m totally willing to throw you under the bus, brother!

      Keep posting. I really appreciate your forwarded info with insightful commentary

      • Greatly Saddened says

        BJS … please accept my apology to your lady, you and anyone else whom I may have offended. I certainly did not mean any disrespect, especially not to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Please forgive me.

        In addition, I only commented to George, because someone had mentioned the pipe, cigar and cup of coffee was distracting to them. I did not personally find any of these things bothersome at all. I really think it makes George seem more of a natural.

        God bless and once again, please forgive me.

        • Thanks GS – she says you are nice

          George – she said you are long winded -ohhh snap!!

          I agree with GS, props or no props. Let’s say props optional

          Thanks for the commentary anyway, George. I’ve heard something to that effect before. However, it could be argued that it is still a misuse, and therefore still applicable. Therefore, I side with her on this

          Any possible way I can side with her, I’m gonna because I gotta pick and choose my battles with her and we debate faith/church/theology as well as the value of Monomakhos frequently.

          As I mentioned before, she is way hotter than me and I don’t need you wrecking this for me so under the bus you go, George! Faster than you can say Archbishop of America! Hiyooooooo

          [whispering] Personally, I wasn’t offended on this one either but don’t let her know I said that, okay? She already thinks I have the mouth of an accident proned Sicilian sailor with Tourettes. I haven’t a bruised and stumpy sea leg to stand on.

          If I ever got tattoos, I should just get “Honey” on my top lip, and “Bucket” on the bottom one

      • George Michalopulos says

        BJS, lemme think about posting video responses. I’m intrigued. I’ll get back to you.

        Re: “using the Lord’s name in vain”, the original Hebrew says “carrying the Lord’s name in vain”. “Carry” is an idiom which means to “use” (like “know” is an idiom for copulation). In the context, “carry the Lord’s name in vain” means to “use the Lord’s name for evil”. In other words a curse, a malediction and/or to do evil in God’s name.

        I got this from Dennis Prager btw and he said that Scripture teaches that all sins are forgivable, even murder, theft, adultery, perjury, usury, whatnot but not using the Lord’s name to do evil. In other words, God is not mad because you stubbed your toe and said “Gosh, darnit!” but will not forgive you for going on a killing spree because Jesus told you to go punish those sinners.

        I believe this falls into the same semantic space when Jesus said that all sins are forgiven save blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It’s certainly congruent with it IMHO.

  2. Constaninos says

    Dear George,
    This is your best video yet. It is outstanding. You “hit it right out of the ballpark.” You stepped up your game because you are a winner. May I make a small suggestion? You look very debonair in this video. Instead of the beanie, I think it would have been cooler to have worn a bowler/derby, homburg or fedora hat. Regardless, excellent commentary, outstanding physical appearance, and an articulate message. Remember, you the man!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Costa, I’m blushing. It was still cold this morning so the stocking cap was the best option available at the time, otherwise I would have been shivering.

      BTW, was the sound quality OK?

  3. Michael Bauman says

    To many “OKs’. A nervous mannerism that needs to be eliminated. Also, I thought that Rep Joseph Kennedy was giving the response. Young, white, priviledged, but still a retread.

    Abosulte moratorium on anybody named Kennedy or Bush or Clinton running for office.

  4. Greatly Saddened says

    George … I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone. In my honest and humble opinion, do what is most comfortable for you when doing these vlogs.

    We love you no matter if you have a pipe, cigar, cup of coffee, or not! It is who you are and it is your trademark, so to speak. So, please feel comfortable with whatever is best for you. Again, just my personal opinion.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, you’re very kind.

      For what it’s worth, the whole vlog thing was something that came to me because –I don’t know why. But it’s easier for me to discuss things sometimes than it is to write them down. I trust this isn’t disconcerting. Regardless, there’s so much going on in the world that it’s just easier to get something out quickly with a terse, written preamble than it is to write a whole thought piece.

      Anyway, I mucho appreciado the compliment.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, for me I would much rather see written content that video content on almost any serious subject. I am sure I am in the minority. However, if this starts to become dominated by video my participation will be significantly reduced. IMO it is the same as with counterfeit money: “Bad drives out good”.

        Videos would likely improve my pronunciation of Greek however.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Micharl, it’ll always be 100% written content with about 30% augmented by video commentary.

  5. M. Stankovich says

    It turns out that this thread is light on the secretiveness of the Jesuits and big on the critique of the vlogging. I will give you this much, Mr. Michalopulos, it certainly takes a significant amount of courage to put yourself out there on video. I went through two lengthy training programs where everything was videotaped and critiqued by your peers. Once you got over the terror of it all, it was a tremendous learning experience and you forgot about cameras altogether. Being an “evocative,” frenetic New Yorker in person (as if that would be difficult to imagine), I was told on a number of occasions to, literally, sit on my hands in therapy groups because I “speak with my hands.” I support the effort.

    I would note that the Lord frequently spoke in “riddles,” as the Evangelists tell us, and in parables and stories, and certainly there was a point to his saying, “He who has ears, let him hear” beyond the capacity to simply “hear sound.” We also find the baptismal instructions of St. Basil the Great carry the warning to the newly baptized (whose instruction was to “baptize them, then make them Christians,” i.e. educate them after they have been baptized) that they memorize the mysteries of the Church, lest they fall into the hands of the Church’s “enemies”. This should immediately bring to mind the Prayer Before the Eucharist attributed to St. Chrysostom, that includes the phrase, “For I will not speak of Your Mysteries to Your enemies…” This in turn also accounts for the “secret prayers” of the Eucharistic Canon that the celebrant of the Liturgy read to himself, rather than aloud, a custom that is said to have originated with the entrance of the Church into the Empire, and the unpredictability of those present at the Liturgy. The point is simply that “secrecy” is not an unknown phenomenon in the life of the Church when it has been reasonable – and I’m sure one man’s reasonability is another man’s secretiveness even among the Orthodox.

    I am not particularly versed in the history of the Jesuits, other than to say that in pursuit of a favorite author, Shusaku Endo, who wrote extensively of the massacre of the Jesuits who attempted to evangelize Japan in the 16th-17th centuries and went underground, they were an especially secretive society. I was expecting a report likening then to those Inquisition boys from the Monty Python days. You’ve disappointed me… They did, however, always seem to have fine libraries and good scotch, for whatever that’s worth. And for heaven’s sake they were smart guys.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Oh, me too, Michael. I had a class like that and I thought I would die. I don’t even like Skype. I have purposely turned off the camera on all my devices and have put tape over the lenses just to be sure. I don’t think I would ever be able to forget the cameras were there. I have no idea how George does it!

  6. john laodicean says

    The doors, the doors!