The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO), at the risk of rendering ourselves obsolete, has prepared this report to show the public exactly what it is we do. What we do, as our title so blatantly announces, is point out what is readily apparent in this world, in spite of the very many earnest efforts to obscure the facts and explain them in ways that make no sense at all. For example, if you think it is true that the real reason that President Bush The Younger invaded Iraq was that Iraq posed a danger to America, you have not been paying attention to reality, but instead have been  listening to people who rely on you to ignore what your own senses tell you.

Which is odd, since when it is very cold outside, few of us wear bermuda sorts and a tank top when we go about our business simply because some people insist it is a hot day and that we are very much mistaken about what we are experiencing. Our eyes inform us of the foot of snow on the ground, our ears register the howling wind and our sense of touch reminds us it freezing cold, and so we bow to the painfully obvious and dress warmly, or remain indoors if possible. Perhaps we wonder what those people were thinking when they insisted the day was a balmy one, since you are certain that they would not send their own children out into a blizzard dressed for the beach. Now you wonder their angle is.

Unless they are mentally ill people who lie just for the practice or for no reason at all, your senses tell you that they have an ulterior motive. Whether or not you are curious enough to discover that motive, you dismiss their convoluted arguments from your mind as ridiculous and completely contradictory to what is plain as day. Researchers here at DOPOTO have established that most human beings are very intelligent and quite adept at responding to external stimuli, in other words, recognizing the obvious. On the other hand, we are also capable of abstract thought and complex problem solving, and too often give liars the benefit of the doubt when they are lying very sincerely. We figure they are engaged in teaching us a more subtle truth, an abstract concept that has somehow escaped us, and that our senses have fooled us somehow.

Senior Department analysts, however, have determined that 99 times out of 100, what seems to be true is true and no alternate explanation exists. Our senses and our advanced brains are not lying to us, playing tricks on us or trying to fool us. That would be others attempting to do that, to circumvent our intelligence, and for want of better terms, to short-circuit our bullshit detectors. There are many areas of human endeavor dedicated wholly to lying, not all of them dishonorable. The arts of fiction writing, storytelling, music, painting, creative photography, sculpture, drama, comedy and acting, for example, are sophisticated ventures designed to use illusion, fiction, exaggeration and abstraction as vehicles to entertain, to challenge, to explore and to gain valuable human insights.

A fine illustration of this deception is that  famous painting of a tobacco pipe by Rene Magritte with the caption below it stating: “This is not a pipe.” In this Department’s opinion this a masterful illustration of the nature of art and a perfect example of stating the obvious. Many of mankind’s best minds have been dedicated to these fine arts of illusion and deception, but the deception and illusion are always accepted as part and parcel of the experience by patrons of these various arts. No one looks at a Picasso for anatomy lessons, or expect ducks to talk to us because they do in cartoons. For art we suspend disbelief, a two-way street beneficial to both audience and artist.

As to the other people who dedicate themselves to lying and obscuring what is obvious? Theirs is a less-than-honorable calling and the reason that The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious was founded. When the public relations professionals hired by industrialists carefully explain how wonderfully beneficial it will be to working Americans to eliminate their jobs in order to maximize profits for the already extremely wealthy, no one is under any obligation to treat their words with anything but scorn. When politicians wax eloquent about the necessity of traveling to exotic locations at the expense of corporate lobbyists to play golf and sail in yachts while studying poverty, why would anyone accept this as anything other than what it so plainly appears to be: bribery? An examination of this particular legislator’s voting record in regard to laws beneficial to the corporation that paid for the trip would be an educational insight to the art of noting the obvious.

When someone starts a war, there is almost always an underlying profit motive involved, and all the rhetoric, the nationalistic blathering about pride and righteousness or the punishment of evildoers is only a smokescreen to make us feel better about burying our children in the cause of profits for the very wealthy who do not send themselves or their own children into harm’s way. And when we are told that poverty, illiteracy, genocide, hatred and starvation are only regrettable but inevitable consequences of human civilization, what is that but an attempt to assuage our own consciences?

When you look outside your window and there is a foot of snow in the ground, you know instantly that it is a very cold day and traveling will be dangerous. This cannot be reasoned away or explained in a different light by anyone. We here at The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious urges everyone to apply these lessons to all they they see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Your intelligent mind and your keen senses are not wrong, nor are they playing games with you. There’s no shortage of people attempting to convince you otherwise.

This was a report form The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious.

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