[Ads-l] WOTY: "fake news"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 8 13:31:47 EST 2016


Well, it seems only fair then to regard “truthiness” as a ripoff of “post-truth”, which was attested in its current sense in 1992, as the Oxford Dictionaries piece points out:

*******
Post-truth seems to have been first used in this meaning in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation magazine. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’.  
*******

Of course in a post-truth world, none of this really matters…

LH


> On Dec 8, 2016, at 1:23 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Thanks for your suggestion, Pat. "Fake News" is thematically related
> to "truthiness" which was voted 2005 word of the year at the American
> Dialect Society meeting. Another related term is "post-truth", and
> Colbert reacted humorously when it was recently highlighted by Oxford
> Dictionaries:
> 
> Article: Stephen Colbert thinks 'post-truth' is a ripoff of 'truthiness'
> Author: Christian Holub
> Date: November 18, 2016
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.ew.com_article_2016_11_18_stephen-2Dcolbert-2Dpost-2Dtruth-2Dtruthiness&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=oK_mEQwPnsG9b8WtQDwBAu4hTDP_J_2U4vVY6TQK3mI&e= 
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> Oxford Dictionaries recently announced that they chose "post-truth" as
> their word of the year for 2016. . . . Stephen Colbert has a few
> problems with this choice, though, and not just because "post-truth"
> is actually two words.
> 
> "Post-truth is clearly just a rip-off of my 2006 word of the year,
> 'truthiness,'" Colbert said.
> 
> He reiterated the definition: "The belief in what you feel to be true,
> rather than what the facts will support," which is definitely
> perilously close to Oxford Dictionaries’ definition of "post-truth."
> Colbert tried to act gracious, though, and imitated an award-show
> nominee cheering for their rival from the crowd.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Perhaps "fake news" might be viewed as an extremal version of "truthiness".
> 
> In 1807 Thomas Jefferson penned a scalding letter about his
> unhappiness with misinformation in newspapers:
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself
> becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real
> extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are
> in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies
> of the day
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Jefferson provocatively suggested the advantages of not reading the newspaper:
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better
> informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is
> nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.
> He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details
> are all false.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> A citation for the Jefferson letter is included in the QI entry about
> a popular Twain misquotation:
> 
> If You Don’t Read the Newspaper You Are Uninformed, If You Do Read the
> Newspaper You Are Misinformed
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__quoteinvestigator.com_2016_12_03_misinformed_&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=3-kF2P23H3a_KImxaTn88uvZaQhTIABEb87rMhrHSbg&e= 
> 
> Garson
> 
> 
> On Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 10:01 AM, Mailbox <mailbox at grammarphobia.com> wrote:
>> Perhaps "fake news" should go into the hopper. It may have swung the election.
>> 
>> The durability of the fake news phenomenon was brought home to my husband and me yesterday. I had gotten an insistent message (yet again) from a reader of our blog about the origin of "the whole nine yards," demanding (more or less) that we acknowledge the WWII machine-gun ammunition belt explanation.
>> 
>> We replied at length by email, recapping the recent 19th-century findings and providing a history of the development of the belt-fed machine gun. All demonstrating of course, that the theory was impossible.
>> 
>> He shot back a reply within a minute: "You are really full of shit."
>> 
>> People who believe etymological folklore cling to it as tenaciously as do those who subscribe to fake news.
>> 
>> Pat O'Conner (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.grammarphobia.com_blog&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=OwAINyadHK9JYVp4Ig0EeCW5JVcrfjRAcHz3AwAAujU&e=  <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.grammarphobia.com_blog&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=OwAINyadHK9JYVp4Ig0EeCW5JVcrfjRAcHz3AwAAujU&e= >)
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=PUbVJfxk_-BBKZUFa4zlV1mcrpOhMUV5XkCCq7nRke4&e= 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=SXOQpuEd9yk80aDi1ScKKjCa7T6RQ-U9-PlRQ7YSVDA&s=PUbVJfxk_-BBKZUFa4zlV1mcrpOhMUV5XkCCq7nRke4&e= 


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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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