RANGER AGAINST WAR: Welcome to the Post-Truth Era <

Monday, January 02, 2017

Welcome to the Post-Truth Era

--Schott (De Volkskrant, Netherlands)

 A half truth is a whole lie
--Yiddish proverb

Welcome to Costco,
I love you
--Idiocracy (2006)

It's a beautiful mornin', ah
I think I'll go outside a while
And just smile
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
--A Beautiful Morning,
The Rascals

Play that funky music white boy
Lay down that boogie and
play that funky music 'til you die
--Play That Funky Music,
Wild Cherry  

A caveat, and a wish:

Ranger and I considered this week which loss will hurt the most: the death of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) or former boy band singer George Michael. The news cycle has tended assiduously to both. But the answer is, “neither”.

The greatest loss is the integrity of the portal through we are fed such stuff. 2016 marks the death of the news media as a trusted partner in our vaunted democratic experiment. Requiescat in pace.

Yes, yes, we all know the news has always come with a bias, and even the fact of what we see is determined for us. But this year, the rust fully breached the veneer. 

It has been a long, inexorable regression. 

Newspapers have been precipitously cutting staff and shuttering operations for over a decade. Cheap, often unvetted and inaccurate content has filled the void (thank you Huffington Post for leading the way, exploiting desperate and often unpaid writers.)

Gone are most college journalism departments and their lessons of boring but stolid integrity. In their place, media studies programs where one learns the art of the package and the spectacle, how to be “newsy” and “newsish”, have bling, and get hired.

Fakirs and Magis:

In 2016, it became o.k. for "legitimate" newscasters to present a lie, provided it propped up the approved liberal agenda.

Couric edited her "Under the Gun" documentary to further the program's anti-gun agenda. Jill Stein was censored in her appearance on the PBS Newshour to make the candidate appear clueless. The reporting offenses are legion, and occurred daily through 2016 in every erstwhile legitimate news outlet. 

This year, I learned disgust for my previous go-to sites, places like The New York Times, The New Yorker and National Public Radio. Each liberal media source partook this election season in a robust and frenzied dance of “Kill the Other Candidate,” and they did so by any means necessary.

It turns out much of their “news” was fake -- misinformed or outright created to foment madness and fury. And in their mad bubble, they were wrong. (It didn't take a Carnac the Magnificent to see this.)

We head into 2017 dampened by a sour anger and a bitter fear born of their imposed and continually reinforced ideation. It is a poor way to welcome a new presidency and a New Year. 

For those who were blinkered, snookered and tribed-up, our wish and hope is that you will wake up, and not too hungover.

In the face of this loss, some tonic ideas from elsewhere:

A Swedish friend recently celebrated with me the Finnish concept of  “Sisu” (in honor of my heritage). Sisu is a national ethos, and has no English translation. Roughly, it means “grit”. Getting it done despite all resistance; seizing success from the jaws of defeat. 

Sisu is a good and noble sort of hardheadness.

We then spoke of “lagom”, the Swedish concept of “just enough” – neither too much, nor too little. Again, a concept absent from the average U.S. lexicon. 

Lagom is a sort of life art, the knowing and understanding of what is necessary for an elegantly simple life. It is a hard concept to acquire for one raised in our “more for me” society.

For good measure, we threw in the Danish idea of “hygge”. Hygge is both the having and the enjoying of simple comforts, the sort that makes a “hard rain’s gonna fall” sort of day bearable. It is neither ostentatious nor in excess. It may be private, or shared.  It is a self-comfort.

So for our readers may you know sisu, lagom and hygge as the holiday season draws nigh. May we all find a candle to light our way.

May we be grateful for the things not lost, and for the ability to apprehend and to appreciate them.

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Blogger mike said...

Blame Reagan. He is the one that quashed the Fainess Doctrine.

Monday, January 2, 2017 at 3:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

Well, in the "glass half full" spirit of things, with the internet, you are now exposed to many different versions of the facts. In the past, you had certainty, but it was wrong.

As Mark Twain didn't say: “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.”

Monday, January 2, 2017 at 4:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Or as they say, there is no truth in Pravda, and no news in Izvestia".

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 9:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Ael - Yes, terrific. I'm sure the owners of pizza restaurants everywhere will be comforted to know that people now get their news from Facebook and will occasionally be visiting them to search for evidence of Clinton's slave rings.

Which is another way of saying, apropos of Lisa's main point, that while I can't say I am shedding many tears over the decline of the liberal media institutions that have cheerfully facilitated economic class warfare and imperial adventures overseas for decades, I'm not comforted by the digital dystopia that stands ready to succeed them, either.

Marx once said religion was the opiate of the masses. I wonder what he would call social media. We are replacing poor arbiters of factual accuracy with none. In the future people will huddle around their digital campfires with like-minded partisans, swapping wild tales about the evil bastards over at that other campfire over yonder.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 2:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yes, just what IS social media? your verbiage is correct: the users see themselves as "partisans", as, "actors". Ranger is undertaking an informal survey amongst the biggest consumers he knows to give us some insight.

Who had it right: Huxley or Orwell? People like Derek Parfit (God bless him) think this is merely the dawn of of something like the Age of Aquarius:

Derek Parfit, Philosopher Who Explored Identity and Moral Choice

Of course, that hopefulness presumes a prior identity, and desire for moral choice.

Friday, January 6, 2017 at 12:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Well you already know my opinions on your first question I imagine.

I will have to think on the Huxley reference some more. On the Orwell point, I would say 1984 is a product of its time and Orwell did not simply imagine how decentralized and informal the system of propaganda and political policing could grow through tools like social media. As surveillance technologies, smartphones are far more powerful and portable than telescreens.

You won't get arguments from me that society benefits by relying on a half-dozen major press corporations and wire services for the vast majority of its political "truth," but the transition from that to the fact-free groupthink of Facebook, Twitter, etc. just swaps one bad situation for another in my opinion, coupled with the rank idiocy of "e-petitions" and Twitter "protests" as a substitute for actual, you know, petitions and protests. Maybe I am wrong in all this as I must confess I do not use these sites at all and a complete outsider to them.

Friday, January 6, 2017 at 10:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a gossipy small town. As I see it, social media is nothing more than the good old fashioned jungle telegraph or grapevine on steroids with a turbo charger. It's just us doing what we've always done, faster and more out in the open - if various viewing/security options have not been applied.

IMO, technology changes nothing about human nature - despite the inventors' insistence that they have created a world changing magic pill.

Happy New Year


Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 1:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Like you, I do not "participate" in that virtual marketplace. Like you, I abhor the "fact-free groupthink" zones and the rank idiocy.


Correct: we are not so advanced; in modality, alone. It is the same old brain moving in double-time (but not with double brilliance).

Happy New Year.

Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 4:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Avedis - Well I certainly do not think human nature has changed as a result of a few years of technological gimmickry. It's more that I think that this "turbo charging," as you put it, is having important consequences above and beyond what already existed.

Is social media just an extremely powerful form of gossip compared to traditional local social networks? Sure, I suppose, in the same way that a bomber is basically the same as a biplane and the computer I'm typing this on is basically the same as the Apple II that was my first computer.

I didn't grow up in a small town, but my wife is from a town of about 200 up on the east coast of Canada near Maine, who all know each other and have done for a few generations, except for newcomers. When I visit there, I encounter more political diversity and depth of thinking in those 200 people than I suspect I would in the average person's Twitter feed.

Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 5:11:00 AM GMT-5  

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