If you have the inclination and 20 minutes to watch the video, this prank is a sad reflection of our times, and is also a fine example of the workings of mass deception and what influences our perception: https://youtu.be/bqPARIKHbN8
The Shed’s web site is still up: https://www.theshedatdulwich.com
The Shed is a modern version of the “I, Libertine” hoax of the mid1950’s: http://hoaxes.org/archive/permalink/i_libertine/
So, how do we protect ourselves from fake anything? Right now we have a fake president declaring everything fake and is daily caught verifiably lying, yet a large portion of Americans still believe him. What is going on in our brains to make us want to believe the things we believe? How much do we deceive ourselves, and how can we tell?
It is very easy to be deceived. We can have peer review, expert analysis, independent audits, etc., but we still get the wool pulled over our eyes at times. I’m afraid it is inevitable. Best you can do is withhold judgment until your skeptical nature has been satisfied with as much objective evidence as possible - but even then you have to make a leap of faith at times. Life has no guarantees that we won’t die in absolute delusion and error.
The more people want for the things they can’t have.
There will always be a segment of the population who enjoys the illusion of prestige. Who brag about their travel and dining experiences yet never seem to go offline. What used to be considered fine restaurants still cater to the Mr. and Mrs. So and So’s of the world so they can continue to say they had brunch at The Snotty Pines Resort and Spa with all the other elitists who haven’t noticed the meals have turned to shit. Now that it isn’t about what you eat but where you eat Chefs are merely phoning it in. And charging exorbitant prices for bragging rights for its patrons. Everyone involved is invested in believing it’s superior.
The only way to get out from under this increasingly suspicious deceptive cloud is to call bullshit. Even when it’s unpopular. Even when it’s difficult. Even when it’s a friend. Even when it’s the so called leader of the free world. Especially then, really. But people seem reluctant to call people out when they lie. Even when it’s painfully obvious. Think of the alternative when we don’t. Exclusive clubs as far as the eye can see. We allow their believing brains to sway our believing brains into believing it’s harmless. And the lies are unrelenting. Skeptics know that some trendy vertical mud bath is really just a fancy name for a shower of shit.
I’ll take blunt force honesty over phony courtly manners any day.
Snopes is good for checking stuff out. Or just google a restaurant or the title of a news article to see the sources. Then, if the only hits are self-generated promotion or tabloids, not a good sign.
I used to believe sites like Trip Advisor, et al, until I finally realized that these are often scammed. I’ve gotten social media requests from friends and organizations to vote for them on sites like these so they would be #1. They even emphasized that I can vote more than once!
Great (fake) reviews can bring in customers to a business, but that can backfire. Garden of the Gods Park got rated as “the best City Park in the U.S.” on Trip Advisor. I don’t know if there was a scam campaign to rate it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people were encouraged to write good reviews. Now, the park does have awesome views of red rocks and Pikes Peak, but is it really better than Central Park or Golden Gate Park or Forest Park in St. Louis with all their gardens, museums, and lakes? Arguable. (Give me Portland’s Washington Park with the gorgeous rose gardens and stately trees.) Anyway, the result of the designation was a big increase in visitation. Parking lots are now overfilled, and many visitors find they are forced to drive through without stopping. This year, a huge new lot was carved out by the main entrance, greatly impacting the classic scenic view. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?
(Sorry for taking a side trail. Whew, got that off my chest.)