CSotD: Truth and Illusion and Carrying On

There’s not much to say about the place of truth and illusion in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? without spoilering Edward Albee’s play, which is nearly as mandatory to watch as George Orwell is to read if you want any insights on what’s happening around us today.

Let’s just say it deserved the stack of awards it won and most of the ones for which it was nominated.

Clay Bennett (CTFP) captures the basic premise, though the fact that Fox News’ most popular hosts spin deliberate lies may not be as critical as the intentional slant of their overall coverage.

And none of that is as important as the fact that a substantial portion of the citizenry depend on and trust not simply Fox but the related spinners of truth generally.

They are, in Plato’s metaphor, watching the shadows on the cave wall and cannot be wrestled up into the light because the shadows are their only reality.

Then again, with all doo respeck to Bennett’s reasonable twist, what is reality?

It’s easy enough to point out that MAGAverse explosions over the First Lady and the VP’s husband exchanging a greeting kiss at SOTU are not reality.

But whose reality is?

Monte Wolverton mocks the people who rallied to speculate over what they’d have done about that balloon, mostly in kneejerk opposition to whatever Biden did about it.

Reality hardly factored into it.

On the other hand, while only a handful of Republicans have proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare, it’s also true that only a handful of liberal politicians have proposed banning gas stoves and only a handful of liberal activists want to actually defund the police.

Steve Brodner points out that Montana has seen a debate on a bill that proposes to outlaw teaching of basic science, and, indeed, there was a lively confrontation over the matter.

But the meeting appears to have been everybody pointing out what an utterly ridiculous (and likely unconstitutional) proposal a freshman legislator had introduced. And even the dingbat who came up with the idea said he would re-write it to be slightly less asinine.

Which is where the real threat lies: What if he does manage to wrestle his ignorance into a form that gibes with enough other ignorant legislative dingbats that it ends up as law?

What level of ignorant, foolish political interference in educating the next generation of voters is acceptable?

And is there an objective measure of reality?

Truth or illusion?

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Adam Zyglis)

(John Darkow)

Constant Readers will know that I’m all in favor of completely recasting the way in which American History is understood and taught, not simply to add a few minority figures to the list of Great Americans but to end the Great Man approach entirely and focus on major movements, which would necessarily be more inclusive.

But I take issue with Zyglis’s accusation, and I’ll cite Hanlon’s Razor as my basis: One should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

Granted, there are deliberate lies in some corners of our history texts, particularly surrounding the causes of the Civil War and the teaching of Reconstruction.

However, Darkow is on target in pointing out the actual, deliberate white-supremacist issue: De Santis’s attack on Black history. That is where malice rules.

The bulk of our bad history is unintentional mythology. We know Washington didn’t really throw a dollar across the Potomac, but we’re still wedded to the First Thanksgiving and to good old Christopher Columbus who proved the world is round.

It wasn’t a conspiracy because nobody thought it through to that extent. It was a series of blind assumptions, no more intentional than the lead in our pipes or the asbestos in our walls.

We look back and say, “What the hell were you thinking?”

The answer is, “We weren’t.”

This is not to say that all error is entirely innocent. Political cartoonists need to be journalists, and, as such, they are responsible for assessing the facts behind their opinions. Dick Wright fell for an Internet fraud about a slight change in an existing voluntary system for reporting tip income.

There’s a lot to unpack in the issue of sub-minimum wage and tipping, and maybe it’s something Joe Biden should address, as long as he’s going after bank charges and ticketing fees and other ways in which people lose money unfairly.

But accusing him of raising taxes on waitresses with kids — or waiters with kids, or waiters and waitresses without kids — is simply not true. Whether it qualifies as a lie or a mistake brings us back to Hanlon’s Razor, but it simply ain’t the fact.

Jeff Darcy comments on an incident that has gotten a great deal of insider-attention from journalists, though the story that hasn’t had the coverage it deserved was a derailment of freight cars that resulted in toxic fumes and evacuations of entire communities.

What Darcy is commenting on was the arrest — handcuffs and all — of a TV reporter who did a live stand-up in the back of a gym as Gov. Mike DeWine was beginning a press conference.

Local cops objected to his talking while the Gov was talking and had the great misfortune that his videographer kept rolling throughout the confrontation.

Though now it appears it was the Ohio National Guard who got upset.

Folks my age know not to piss them off.

Anyway, they didn’t Tase him or kick him or shoot him, but they kept him in the clink for five hours, which seems excessive, given that the governor had declared the whole thing a mistake even before the end of the news conference.

Seems less like a constitutional issue than like something for the locals to straighten out.

Confrontations at the scenes of crimes, fires and accidents are part of the game. In my reporting days, most of these went well, but I was yelled at a few times and even ticketed once, though the officer called later to apologize and tell me to tear up the ticket.

It comes with the territory, and it goes well as long as everybody acts like little Fonzies.

Unless this Ohio thing is part of a new level to the whole issue of truth and illusion and who gets to say which is which.

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Truth and Illusion and Carrying On

  1. But it’s not just a few wild and crazy Republicans saying they intend to cut or eliminate Social Security.
    It’s not just Rick Scott, it’s Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Michael Waltz, Lindsay Graham The Republican Study Committee all have publicly talked about plans to cut or eliminate Social Security.

    Republicans have had a hard on for Social Security for over 80 years. And they have recently campaign, and promised to make cuts or eliminate it entirely.

    Remember how dismissing their intention to overturn Roe v. Wade turned out.

  2. They did teach me in school that Columbus was trying to prove the world was round. But WHY? They must have known that wasn’t true: they all had Master’s Degrees, they had read Ovid, Dante, and the Greeks. So why were we told that?

    Of course, I was also taught that Robert E. Lee was a noble figure, and John Brown was a nut. I had no idea that the abolitionists considered Brown a heroic martyr till long after I was out of school. And this was in New York, not the Deep South.

    I also learned about Ruby Bridges from a John Steinbeck book, not school.

  3. Cartoonists only need to do their research and it’s not hard because reporters have already done the reporting for them. Cartoonists like Dick Wright would rather get their information from a meme, or worse, Fox News, than from legitimate journalism outlets.
    When you use lies to push your agenda in a cartoon, then it’s not a cartoon anymore. It’s propaganda.

    The saddest part about this is that Counterpoint and Cagle Cartoons, who both uses Dick’s work, don’t really care about the sloppiness in this.

  4. My column, posted with and under my cartoon on the East Palestine derailment and reporter’s arrest, noted the altercation was initiated by an Ohio National Guard General shoving the reporter. Also made the obvious comparison to Barney Fife towards end of column.

    After ‘toon and column. posted Friday, Dept. of Defense press sec. said Sec. of Defense and D.O.D. do not condone Nat. Guard General’s action and it wasn’t acceptable behavior.

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