I grew up loving the Science Fiction genre, and, let’s be honest, the horror genre. Talk about two areas that require a suspension of disbelief above many others. Unless a filmmaker tried to pass off a film as a documentary, audiences are pretty savvy in picking out fact from fiction. Even films that are “based on real events” are taken with a grain of salt. And for a good reason. It’s entertainment. Real life, on the other hand, isn’t quite as discerning in the hands of some folks, and they often try to pass fiction off as fact.
Now, we live in a social media dominated world. Very little happens we don’t hear about. Events may not be promoted by the news, or even downplayed in the news, but word gets around. Sadly, plenty of bullshit gets around too. How many fake celebrity death announcements have we had to sit through or check out on Snopes? How many memes with quotes that have turned out to be fake have we had to admit we didn’t look up before sharing?
My impression has been that social media and having the world at our fingertips would allow us to quickly figure out fact from fiction. Did we even have fact checkers back in the 1970s during an election? They seem like a good idea, right? And yet we now have candidates downtalking the fact checkers because they (the fact checkers) were (gasp!) checking the validity of certain claims.
Truth was thrown out the window with the latest election, and it doesn’t appear to be changing since the inauguration took place. Now, instead of calling bullshit when someone lies, we’re told they were presenting “alternative facts”. I’d love to know who came up with because, let’s face it, they obviously don’t have a gag reflex and could easily put it down their throat. That’s impressive.
The question that comes immediately to my mind is how much of this is ultimately going to get accepted as fact? When someone in the White House says it was a larger crowd present to see the inauguration, that more people used the transit system to see the President get sworn in than the previous inauguration, etc etc and it clearly wasn’t, how many times will it take someone saying it was before the public starts to scratch our collective heads and agree “Well, maybe it was.”
That’s rewriting history, and it reminds me a hell of a lot of a novel I read in high school by George Orwell.
True, I identify with and vote as a Democrat. However, I have also maintained that I will vote for a Republican if I think they are the better candidate. I was quite disgusted with Republican leadership when President Obama was voted into office both times, and I fight not to act the same way they did in my attitude towards Donald Trump. But this manipulation of facts and fiction, and calling fiction “alternative facts” is something that needs to be nipped in the bud right away. And the pressure to keep it nipped needs to be maintained.
I hope some good comes of our current leader, and not as a warning of how not to let a country vote. In the meantime, call it like it is; alternative facts are lies.