Truth is stranger than fiction’’ is being used more liberally of late, often when we’ve received some gilded scat, masquerading as information, from mainstream media. Oozing concern and false pride, outrage and indignation that cajoles us into developing new skills and filters, the better to be depressed by the underlying irrelevance. Blaring ambient noise, white noise, torturous and destructive in its purpose and it does have purpose. But before that, here’s Mark Twain’s quote in full ‘’Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.’’
If your business is concerned with the dissemination of truth, opinion advises that ambition, however empirical, you singly or collectively believe it.
Eyewitness testimony has proven to be surprisingly unreliable.
The camera never lies. Try telling that to the online dating subscriber who’s finally plucked up the courage to meet their online prospect, only to discover, through the window of the neutral ground that is The Corporate coffee Emporium, a visage significantly removed from the ones you’ve been looking at, supported by a casing that has hitherto remained ‘out of frame’, in spite of the space it occupies.
News footage that is framed in less than two square metres that chokes with its implied horror. Implied because the narrative that accompanies it, replaces stark image with starker monologue, kindly permitting us to conjure up the grisliest scenarios and encouraging us to think the worst.
Small print, whilst obviously and unashamedly a deceit, alludes to truth by law but flouts the spirit of that law with virtually invisible conformity. Its partner in crime, the asterisk, offers early warning in your perusal of a bargain ticket with so narrow a scope of terms and conditions, that you’d have to be a one-legged, albino octogenarian with rickets to qualify.
The car mechanic who solemnly advises that in order for the splattmargler to rumbledrate in harmony with the lat cock-flange, he’s going to have to Trans-Reesmoggrify the hot end to avoid a catastrophic failure of the wanklecycle to stop the engine de-Pfeffelizing, has our well-being at the heart of his BD500 invoice. Nodding mystified at this waterfall of Malayalam and in the absence of any useful knowledge, we look into his face in the hope that therein we’ll see some side-door to sanity rather the blank page that is his truth.
The politician whose burial-mound hide undulates with scar tissue from decades of slung truth, is confounded with the new reality. His thin veneer of propriety no longer requires veiling, the rhetoric, parry and thrust of yesteryear crazy paves the way to untruth. Misspeaking becomes routine and my truth trumps your truth. When I believe and you do not, my belief trumps yours. If I wilfully mishear, you misheard before me and if I do not see what you see, you’ve misseen. So tangled has the garbled communication that parades as political discourse become, that an assured descent into wishful thinking, deliberate ignorance, de-engagement, off grid living and fingers-in-ears exasperation becomes commonplace. Twisters of unimaginable size and scope smash into what remains of credibility, serving history in bite-sized chunks to be spat into a cauldron of simmering lies, with burlesque and outrage coating the rim; thinly seasoned with probability.
The purpose of all this noise is to mask truth, not shine light upon it. If the inevitability of available fact exposes a digression from it, then that fact must be accompanied by loud throngs of its brethren. Don’t worry, The truth will set you free.