May 30th, 2005

Believe it or Not
By James Castwell


I have noticed a problem. A certain degree of lack of believability in what we read these days. There seems to be a very real trend to believe that something is true or at least, "there must be something to it" if it is bad. By 'bad' I mean that someone got caught stealing, a crime happened, some product has something wrong with it. Things like that.

However, if something is reported as being 'good' it probably is biased and not true. That there must be something 'wrong' with the statement and some collusion or other factor influencing the statement and it is false. Therefore, only information that is 'bad' is believed, that which is good is not.

Now, it has long been a fact that in the 'news' industry, "If it bleeds; it leads." For many reasons it is true. For one thing, it does 'sell soap' as the old saw goes. Watch the news or read about it. News has come to mean something is wrong, bad, terrible, what a shame etc.

And it is a shame. Here is how it effects me here. Let's say I invent a new fly rod company for an example and see if you don't agree with me. And it's not just me. It is a problem for all writers, news or otherwise. Ok, here we go; The ABC rod company.

Today the ABC rod company announced it's newest rod series. Lighter, faster, smoother and more responsive to the beginner and the veteran alike. These rods will surpass any ideas you may have had about how a fly rod should really feel and cast. Absolutely damp and recoilless, the amount of vibration has been virtually eliminated. Casts will average 20% farther with the same effort as used in the past. These rods will set the bench-mark for years to come and be the rod all others are compared with.

So there you have it. BS? Of course. No way that could be true. Now this.

It was learned today that the ABC rod company was in court over a possible patent infringement on a taper design. It seems they may have copied it from a well known competitor.

In other court action a law suit was filed over the wording of a guarantee and the term, 'lifetime.' "Lifetime to me means my lifetime, not the expected lifetime of the waders," he said.

The ABC rod company today purchased the XYZ rod company and the fear is the products will now be made off shore with an obvious decline in quality and customer service. No price increase is expected at this time.

"My 777 fly line won't go thru the guides of the rod I built. I have built for 3 months now and know what I am doing. It must be they made a bad batch of lines and I just got one. I am never going to buy from them again. Be careful when you do, they are sloppy in their product control."

"ABC says their new line of rods are very fast. That means they are fragile, right?"

Ok, Ok, so these are maybe extreme examples but that is what I wanted. We have been conditioned to think there must be some degree of truth to these or they would not be in print. It is a well accepted that anything in print has a much stronger impression than if only spoken. Like 'No Smoking,' 'Keep off the Grass' etc. but why do we believe the bad and not the good?

Because we have been lied to, lied at, and lied about. Remember the jingles on radio? Little songs telling us that our wash will be whiter, no ring on the collar again, and we will get better gas milage? They didn't all turn out exactly as we expected, did they. We aren't stupid, we learned to filter out these great promises. At the same time we heard reports of a fire and saw pictures; there was a fire. Of wrecks; and there was wrecks. The news was bad... but true.

All of this brings me to the problem I have on here and I think many other writers have as well. Also, why we tend to believe what we read on our bulletin board. That stuff comes from people, not news makers. Real people who we think we can still trust. It is one of the reasons I like to have guys write stories for FAOL who are not well known professional magazine writers. We have come to distrust the professionals. And probably for good reasons, which I will not go into here. I think we all can agree on what they are.

Oddly enough, the first paragraph about the ABC rod company is not only TRUE, but I watered it down some. The rod does exist. It is patented in it's country of origin. Nothing I wrote about is false. Of course the following statements are baloney and all are false. BUT, they are believable. If not in whole, at least in part. There could be some truth in them somehow. "Where there is smoke, there must be some fire," sort of thing.

I think this is why most of the product reviews these days are of the comparison type. "Of these eight rods, the ABC weights the least. On distance casting however it came in third using a six weight line." You may notice we don't do them like that here though. I simply take a rod and give you my opinion for what it's worth. Hopefully you have some degree of faith in me.

So far I have not lied to you. I have tried very hard not only not to lie, but to tell things exactly as I feel they are. I have not written things about a sponsors product that I didn't believe myself. I have not slanted things to make them look good. At least I sure have tried not to. Sure, I need sponsors. They pay the bills. But without you coming here in the numbers that you do, I would not have any sponsors. I and the LF are 'reader driven,' that is, we feel you are more important than the sponsors, any of them and we will not change that, ever. If we do, it all goes down hill.

At the start FAOL was our web-site. No longer. It has grown larger than either of us could have ever imagined. It is respected and utilized by many of the major manufacturers today and is looked to for the latest information. It has now become an entity of it's own. It lives and we now work for it. We now have a responsibility toward it. To keep it going, guide it's progress, keep it clean and reputable and energized and on topic and informative and always a place you can come to with confidence. That sounds 'good' to me; I hope you can believe it. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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