I enjoyed the Edward Abbey hoax stories, but I think I need to hold up the independent spirit end of things and explain to those with stars in their eyes just what Hollywood is about. Lies! If you think leading a local news writer down the Hayduke Trail to free publicity is outrageous, consider how Hollywood works. When you are a low-budget filmmaker living on ramen, looking for a budget to compete with Disney, Castle Rock and the Satanists and military intelligence operations who run the show, you have to be creative and everyone expects lies. There are no rules and you can do anything you can to create buzz in a town that is all about buzz. Fame is a strange thing and publicity makes fame regardless of truth or consequences. Outrageous lies-that-fly work like a charm to get the attention of Hollywood . . . and the American voter. It’s the thing that gave us Donald Trump – showbiz lies. A little buzz can grow into a bigger buzz and people cannot turn away, especially if you enlist the help of news organizations sloppy with facts and into money at all costs.

The original Moab Sun News story made me very happy, not because I was hoping to see some lie about Edward Abbey, our favorite deviant and drunk (the truth hurts, doesn’t it? – hence the popularity of lies that feel good). It was great because it was so damn funny, so typical of aspiring screenwriters to blow up their project in any newspaper with any lie that will work, using any angle to get a rise, and . . . The Hayduke Trail?! Awesome! You fell for it. Anybody hike the Hayduke lately?

I won’t mention the filmmaking liar’s name or quote him – he’s a hack, for sure. But the truth is that, no matter what the people at his production company say (as he winks on the other end of the line, laughing at the Podunk news team), in Hollywood a good lie gets you a paycheck, a backer and maybe a star with a sense of humor that will pity the fool who comes up with a really good slice of B.S. His production company had a good laugh, too. Good lies are what that business is about. But in journalism, lies are not so good, and covering a story and not doing a call to fact-check, and publishing it on the front page, now that is a gross mistake.