Quote of the Day: Truth and Fiction

 

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” — Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, Mark Twain

Ain’t it the truth. All you have to do is look at the news today. If in 1960 someone had written a science fiction novel about the 2020s with even half the things that are going on today his editors would have laughed at the draft when they encountered it on the slush pile. The world would lock down for a respiratory virus with a 1% fatality rate? Get outta here!  That will never happen. The FBI would be colluding with a major political party and the New York Times to subvert justice? That’s wacko conspiracy theory territory. Big Brother would not come from the government but rather from public sector technology companies? That idea’s kinda out there, isn’t it?

For that matter, if you had written a novel about a world that had largely conquered poverty, pollution, and disease, and was a utopia where you could talk to anyone, anywhere in the world, and order goods from anywhere and get them quickly, but everyone was still obsessed that disaster was around the corner – it would have been flagged as unbelievable.

Yet here we are. All of those things are true. Mark Twain was right.

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  1. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    In 1964, the FBI bugged Barry Goldwater’s campaign plane for Lyndon Johnson. The FBI has been the creepy organization that it is forever.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    For if there be a Faith, from of old, it is this, as we often repeat, that no Lie can live for ever.
    The French Revolution. A History, Thomas Carlyle (1837)

    Carlyle said “a lie cannot live.” It shows that he did not know how to tell them. If I had taken out a life policy on this one the premiums would have bankrupted me ages ago.

    Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. II (2013)

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hang On (View Comment):

    In 1964, the FBI bugged Barry Goldwater’s campaign plane for Lyndon Johnson. The FBI has been the creepy organization that it is forever.

    There were creepy FBI stories in the 1960s. (See Rex Stout’s The Doorbell Rang.) But an FBI partnership with both the NYTs and a major political party? That is what makes it bizarre. 

    • #3
  4. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    In 1964, the FBI bugged Barry Goldwater’s campaign plane for Lyndon Johnson. The FBI has been the creepy organization that it is forever.

    There were creepy FBI stories in the 1960s. (See Rex Stout’s The Doorbell Rang.) But an FBI partnership with both the NYTs and a major political party? That is what makes it bizarre.

    Do you think that if the NYT got wind of the FBI bugging Barry Goldwater’s campaign plane, they would have published it in 1964?

    The press always feeds off of leaks from the government and always will. What they publish and don’t publish is a highly biased process. Always has been, always will be. How they filter it and contextualize it is as well. 

    It’s just that the NYT is among the biggest set of liars around. Always has been. Always will be. Why Republicans aren’t in favor of very high taxes on the press through excise taxes is beyond me. The same should go for social media. Want to tweet? That will cost you $1. 

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hang On (View Comment):
    It’s just that the NYT is among the biggest set of liars around. Always has been. Always will be. Why Republicans aren’t in favor of very high taxes on the press through excise taxes is beyond me. The same should go for social media. Want to tweet? That will cost you $1. 

    Next thing people will complain that it disadvantages the poor, like a poll tax does.  And they will be proposing subsidies so the poor can participate, too. Then they will want to subsidize the people who are close to being eligible for subsidies, but not quite there.  Next thing you know all social media will be run and funded by the government. 

    Just the same, it has occurred to me in the past that all social media could be improved if free memberships were made illegal.  

     

    • #5
  6. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Next thing people will complain that it disadvantages the poor, like a poll tax does.  And they will be proposing subsidies so the poor can participate, too. Then they will want to subsidize the people who are close to being eligible for subsidies, but not quite there.  Next thing you know all social media will be run and funded by the government. 

    Just the same, it has occurred to me in the past that all social media could be improved if free memberships were made illegal.  

    Perhaps. But it will take time and in the meantime they may have to go out of business. 

    • #6
  7. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Seawriter: Mark Twain was right.

    As was so often the case.

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    • #7
  8. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    And they will be proposing subsidies so the poor can participate, too. Then they will want to subsidize the people who are close to being eligible for subsidies….

    Just so. Consider paid school lunches, once the province of the poor, now available to most kids. And if you qualify and use the program, how can you object to school breakfasts for the needy as well? 

    It is the Milo Minderbinding of the electorate. 

     

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    TBA (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    And they will be proposing subsidies so the poor can participate, too. Then they will want to subsidize the people who are close to being eligible for subsidies….

    Just so. Consider paid school lunches, once the province of the poor, now available to most kids. And if you qualify and use the program, how can you object to school breakfasts for the needy as well?

    It is the Milo Minderbinding of the electorate.

     

    Never heard of Milo Minderbinding, but one thing that helped radicalize me was learning that my kids were eligible for paid school lunches, and that there were pushers trying to get us to apply even when I had a decent-paying job.  (We didn’t.)

    Of course, I had already been radicalized by seeing what social security pushers did to people, back when I was about 10 years old.  (I could look up the date in my mother’s diary, but won’t do it now.) 

     

    • #9