“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln
The first part of the story goes something like this.
Once there was a boy who started screaming, “Wolf! Wolf!”
Upon hearing this the people from his village ran around screaming like headless chickens. Of course the boy, who was playing a prank, thought this was hilarious. When the villagers found out the truth they were, understandably, very pissed.
Despite a good old rollocking the boy had had so much fun he thought he’d try it again the next day. Once more, after the villagers found out they’d been tricked, they gave him an almighty scolding.
The third time the boy did this, of course, there really was a wolf. Unfortunately no one believed him and so, as the story goes, the villagers got fucked…
The second part of the story happened years later. It goes like this.
The children of that village, having seen what had happened that day, learnt a very valuable lesson. Sadly they grew up and forgot all about it. As a result they ended up electing that very same boy their king.
One day many packs of wolves descended on every village in the kingdom.
Unfortunately the boy king had stripped these villages of their defences to save a little money. Fearing that the villagers might form a rebellion as a result, the boy king devised a dastardly plan to save his reputation.
His plan, seen as it had worked for him so far, was to lie.
And so, despite reports coming in from across the kingdom about wolf attacks, he declared confidently, “No wolf! There is no wolf! Carry on with your life as normal.”
Of course there were, in fact, many millions of wolves. As a result, all of the villages throughout the kingdom, believing the boy, got fucked… very, very badly!
The villagers who survived were, predictably, very angry. They started screaming at the boy and each other for trusting the boy! Many who still trusted the boy screamed at those who didn’t!
Of course the boy king, understanding just how short the memory of his fellow villagers was, had banked on this. He used that anger and went on the offensive. “It’s not my fault,” he said. “It’s everybody else’s. I was actually the first person to say wolf, when nobody else did! It wasn’t me who said no wolf, it was the evil opposition!”
Now the villagers were confused.
They started saying things like, “Wait!? Did he say wolf or no wolf? I’m not so sure anymore. He’s certainly said both. Perhaps he really was telling the truth? Maybe the problem isn’t the boy king but the people who don’t believe him!?”
The problem the villagers had now, of course, because the boy had lied to them so much, was not about whether they should trust him or not. The issue is that they simply don’t know what is true anymore. They no longer know how to determine fact from fiction. It isn’t just the boy they don’t trust, but anyone.
Sadly this is something the original story about the boy who cried wolf never taught us. The exception to the rule. That is, if all you know and hear are lies, then it’s the truth that you stop trusting.
The third part of the story, of course, is yet to pass. The question is, will we the villagers continue to believe the boy who cried wolf, no wolf and then wolf again?
Or will we finally understand that the boy is the wolf…