Saturday 30 April 2022

Let’s All Call A Lie A Lie.


I was building up a bulk order of benign voodoo vibes, tearing up newspaper and shredding cardboard for my compost bin, while staring for ages at the front of the Saturday sports section. 

There at the top of the page was a story about 

‘Conte Anger - PSG Link Is Fake News.’ 

'No it’s not!’ I complained out loud to myself, like Billy No Mates. ‘It’s just a lie.’ 

Unless you’re a fan of either Spurs or PSG, what the manic Italian manager does is immaterial.  

And no, this isn’t Charlie discovering the Post-Truth World eight years too late. 

I’m only too aware of it, yet it dawned on me this morning that there is something we can all do to improve the state of our fragile civilisation. 

Thanks to the way that checking two websites now makes each of us a self-avowed expert on any given subject, there are no students left.  

Nobody needs to learn anything ever again, as everyone knows everything. We are all absolutely irrefutably right and everybody else is woefully pathetically wrong. 

Check out this woman on You Tube. She’s got a doctorate in Incandescentology, so she’d make a perfect life coach. 

This doctor on Twitter is a world-renowned transplant surgeon, so he knows all about what’s good for your garden. 

Read this post on Facebook about pumpkins being a communist plot and the one on LinkedIn about Elon Musk giving all his money to Ukrainian orphans. 

Check out the woman calling Noam Chomsky an imbecile on Pulse or Twitch or Snippy-Snappy, Tik-Tok, Insta, Spinsta, Grinda or BotherMeHole.  

Right now there are more opinions around than ever before: more polarised ridiculous wonderful extreme hyperbolic opinions about everything; never moderate nor small opinions, but always correct.  

They are, in fact, not opinions at all. 

They are The Truth. 

Good old 'The Truth.' 

Where would we be without it? 

Tragically we have been living without The Truth for nearly a decade. 

There always have been and forever will be an infinite number of truths, manifesting themselves as sacred, unique, beloved and precious opinions.

By allowing the notion of Fake News to assimilate and osmose into our every day lives, we have erased the use of the word Lie.  

If you do not use the word Lie you have no need for the word Truth. 

This has been debated ever since Trump got in the first time (oooeerr) but like a subversive cuddly Tribble, Fake News makes lying sound lusciously mockable and ultimately fairly acceptable. 

It shouldn’t be, mustn’t be, and won’t be if we all start to use the words Lie and Liar again.  

Trouble is, the other phenomenon that has grown up alongside Fake News, like its ugly twin, is what I call MI (Modern Intolerance.)  

Disguised as just the opposite, MI involves subtle yet pernicious censorship. 

Warnings are put on works of literature, lest someone be offended by Macbeth killing Duncan. Feminists become the enemy as TERFs cross the transgender borders of acceptability. Pronouns become a commodity, and open debate dissolves into the annals of history, as Cancel Culture takes hold.  

In response the racists, fascists and bigots also grow in strength, as our societies stretch to breaking point.  

Before we reach WB Yeats’ horizon where the centre cannot hold, we need to rebuild resilience in ourselves, and instil it in our young. 

Resilience is an essential ingredient of the human condition. To this Boomer, while everyone is wary of offending anyone, 21st century western youth appears dangerously lacking in resilience.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling offended. I’m not suggesting it’s cool to incite racial hatred or behave in a threatening or violent manner towards anyone. 

However, when we are merely victims of disagreement, we need to be able to deal with it. It’s important we are able to stand up straight in the face of adversity; that we can handle discord; that we can debate and demand truth. 

When our opponent is wrong we must explain why, and when they are telling lies, we need to call them liars; out loud and to their faces. 

Whether you’re a CND dungaree-wearing marrahoochy-growing vegan creative YinYang crystals in a line volunteer at a Food Bank, or a flag-waving vigilante waging war on immigration and foreigners, while ripping cooked flesh from bones of beasts cheap at the check-out yet cruelly raised, or any of the rest of us billions inbetween, let’s all do one thing that will really truly help.  

To coin a Brexit lie, let's take back control of truth. Whatever your opinion, lifestyle, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status, when we spot a lie we must say: 

“That’s a lie and you are a liar, because this is the truth and here is why.” 

There is no fake news.
It’s either truth or lie.