Andy and the Fact Checker

The local kids have gotten a taste for the bartering system.  Opie plans to push some “licorice seeds” he got in a bad deal on to someone else in return for a pair of roller neogriffithism 1.14 shaving in the cellskates.  When Andy hears about it he puts a stop to it and reminds Opie of the “golden rule.”  Opie makes the common mistake of confusing “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” with “do unto others what has been done unto you.”  Nevertheless, he agrees to call off the trade.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before Andy’s words come back to bite him.  Despite Barney’s objections the town council decides to get rid of a cannon that has become a local landmark/eyesore.  The mayor tasks Andy and Barney with selling it.  After lugging the cannon all around town they are entirely unsuccessful.  Even Barney, who so passionately insisted that the town keep the cannon, refuses to buy it for himself.  While taking a break for a treat at the Walker drug store they come across a stranger who deals in antiquities.  In the bartering process Andy stretches the truth a little, claiming the cannon has more historical significance than it really does, whichneogriffithism 1.14 kicking the tires infuriates Barney and inspires Opie to follow suit.  He finally gets his roller skates by implying that an old cufflink once belonged to George Washington.  Meanwhile, Barney drowns his sorrows in root beer floats until Ellie, who is also disappointed in Andy, has no choice but to cut him off.

When Andy finds out about Opie’s trade he is furious.  It takes him perhaps a little longer than it should to realize he’s guilty of the same thing.  He returns to the drug store where he makes amends with the dealer and settles on a much lower price for the cannon, earning the forgiveness of Ellie and Barney, the latter of which has a root beer float tummy ache.  However, it was all for naught, because a Mayberry native who moved away and found success buys the cannon without recognizing it and donates it back to the town.


  • Opie looks into the camera and expresses displeasure at being cheated and not being allowed to pay it forward.  A fourth wall break like that indicates an impressive grasp of metarealism for a young person.
  • Ellie returns, although she doesn’t have much to do, and is finally shown as a member of the city council.  However, it seems she took Orville or Floyd’s seat because at least one of them seems to be missing.  There are two men in the meeting whose faces are never seen.  One of them could be Orville or, more likely, Floyd, but the other is a larger man with white hair.
  • Thematically, this episode is almost the polar opposite of the previous one.  “Mayberry Goes Hollywood” is largely about resisting change but this episode begins with Andy criticizing Barney for being too conservative.  Andy’s eagerness to get rid of the cannon stands in stark contrast with his loyalty to the tree.
  • Actor Max Showalter, who plays antiques dealer Ralph Mason, played Ward Cleaver in the pilot of Leave it to Beaver.

The Moral of the Story

“Honesty is the best policy.”  Andy spells out the episode’s lesson pretty early on when he learns of his son’s bartering tactics.  Of course, it doesn’t take long for him to forget his own lecture and use the same kinds of methods to sell the cannon.  That’s when Opie reminds his father of his own words and Andy remembers that no sale is good enough to justify deception.

Modern Mayberry

If you don’t know by now that President Donald is a “horse trader” or unprecedented audacity then this isn’t going to change your mind.  More than a few times in the past we’ve focused on Donald’s deceptions and the Republican Party’s attempts to repeal Obamacare.  Personally, I’m craving a change of pace.  For this post I thought it might be a good idea to research “untruths” by going to the fact checker at the Washington Post.  Of course, Donald’s face was plastered all over it, but there was another pattern that emerged, kind of.  Since May there have been a few fact-checks of Democrats who have made misleading claims about the Republican health-care bill.

In the immediate aftermath of the AHCA’s public reveal it was pretty common to see people claim that it made being a rape survivor a preexisting condition.  That’s not true at all.  Perhaps, hypothetically, under very specific circumstances it could be possible under the AHCA for someone to be denied coverage because of an assault-related medical problem but it’s more likely for them to be struck by lightning and for the exposure to electricity to cure them of gayness.

On May 4th, Senator Kamala Harris tweeted “Once again 129M people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage and insurers could charge sick people more money.”  129 million is a very high estimate based on an outdated report.  This tweet seems to suggest that the AHCA would allow insurance companies to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, an outcome the bill specifically tries to avoid.

On May 16th, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said “Seven million veterans will lose their tax credit for their families in this bill.”  As the Post points out, that’s a bit of an overstatement.  It seems Republicans have made sincere efforts to maintain protections for veterans and even in a worst case scenario “seven million” is a little high.

Then, in June, Nancy said “Americans will lose their health coverage because of this proposal.  And it is a job loser.  Estimated to be 1.8 million jobs lost.  Donald Trump is a job loser.”  It’s true that one estimate claimed 1.8 million jobs could be lost, but it’s also true that another study estimates that the number is more like 400,000.

As you might be able to tell, these statements are more complicated than they seem at first, which is why the Post and other journalists tend to avoid using words like “lie,” even when talking about Donald Trump.  Still, the complexity surrounding issues like healthcare is all the more reason for one to watch one’s words when discussing them.  We should be able to rely on each other and especially our leaders to have an open, honest conversation about these issues and making false claims doesn’t help matters.  In a time when the President of the United States has declared war on the press and, at times it seems, the very idea of factuality and a shared reality, it’s all the more important for all of us to prioritize truth and accuracy.  In a time when nearly all of the world’s knowledge is available at all of our fingertips, holding our leaders accountable should be easy and lying should be almost impossible.

What do you think Andy would do?

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