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Friday Notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: January 18, 2013

All the talk about Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o, as well as some recent reading about Newtown "truthers," had me thinking about the whole issue of what we should and shouldn't believe in the culture. The result was this column.It was one of those white-heat deals, where I was burning to get the idea down, and piled up items for it, and could have said much more; at least one section of the final piece was much longer in an earlier draft. But here it is.

Another thing that came out of the researching and writng the column was our pop-culture divide. I had seen the term catfishing before, but did not pay much attention until it came up in the Te'o discussion -- after which I looked, with something resembling awe, at clips from the "Catfish" TV show. But it still appears to be a term you can drop knowingly only to a limited audience; I have asked a bunch of people, including a group of college frreshmen, who did not know exactly what catfishing is. While that may change, it's a reminder of our cultural divides -- how we don't always know how to talk to each other, because our frames of reference are so different.\

NPR also weighed in on that topic this morning. You can find the piece here.But the divide is of long standing. Think of which side you were on during the various changes in pop music, and how much had to be explained to the unitiatied. Or go back to television in the '50s, when homes had one TV set so the family collectively watched programs (and the nation as a whole had relatively few TV choices), giving them a common cultural view; that changed as soon as there was a second TV.

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