When Everything's Up for Grabs

I got sucked in by a photo yesterday (pictured) that turned out not to be exactly accurate. But the karmic universe balanced out when I was able to correct another friend a few hours later, showing that Mitt Romney did NOT say he was too important to go to Vietnam.

Meanwhile there's a photo that some say provides definitive proof that President Obama, a constitutional law scholar and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, may or may not know how to spell Ohio using his hands.

My kids don't watch a ton of commercial television---we're PBS partisans, for the most part---but stuff leaks through. No big deal, except that they've started to needle me for all these amazing products they're seeing on TV. Like Packit, the freezable lunch bag. The product is so ingenious, you see. And the spokesperson is very chipper. Surely we need one! Or many!

It's a testament to my kids' sincerity and powers of persuasion that I want to buy one of these even though

a) I work from home (and thus eat lunch at home) multiple days a week

b) Robert and I both have fridges at our workplaces

c) the girls eat sandwiches for lunch, and a few hours in a backpack isn't going to ruin honey ham.

They were puzzled by my gentle pushback. But the TV people said it was awesome! And they were so certain about it! It was a good teachable moment. It also broke my heart a little, because they also have to deal with doctored Mars photos and partisan Internet hoaxes. Outrageous marketing claims on the the teevee feel so quaint and old fashioned in comparison.

When the origins of the Mars picture were pointed out to me I lamented, "Good Lord, do I have to factcheck EVERYTHING?!?" It gets tiring to be skeptical all the time, though I've resigned myself to it.

But my three amigos haven't.

At the risk of getting all won't-someone-please-think-of-the-children here... how do we prepare young minds to live in a world that can so easily deceive them?

You might say that relationships trump everything. You can count on love, because while the Internet can lie, love cannot be faked. But anyone with a broken heart knows better.

Besides, after I took Caroline to see Bolt (about a dog who discovers that his whole life is an adventure show) she had nightmares for weeks, and once tearfully asked me, "How do I even know you're really my mom?!?"

Oh honey.

And there are faith implications to this. If my kids grow into adults with a strong belief in God/the Holy/the Really Real/the Great Whatever/the Life-giving Story/what have you, well, of course that's fine. Good. Beautiful. Potentially life-giving.

But ignorance of inconvenient scientific facts in supposed service to that belief = not OK with me.

What say you, Gentle Reader?