Sunday, December 18, 2016

DRIBS & DRABS – The Flavors of Falsehood

Every day I'm seeing more signs of a troubling trend: in more aspects of our lives than folks want to admit, it seems we either want, or are being conned into, a blurring of the lines between reality and …well…something else.

I see it in our culture’s pervasive reliance on little glowing screens—instead of our own senses and experience—to tell us what’s true, what’s real, what’s happening.

I see it in our growing inability to distinguish news from entertainment. And in our ready belief that Facebook friends make us popular or that insipid tweets or mercurial Snapchat posts constitute communication.

I suppose it’s far too easy to blame this epidemic self-deception on this generation’s inundation in technology, but I can think of no other cultural factor since I was a child that can begin to explain such a profound transfiguration of reality.

The signs that we’ve lost our way are everywhere. Our addiction to “reality” TV—which, in many cases, is about as far from my reality as it can be. The belief of many parents—based in part on the “if it bleeds, it leads” editorial MO and 24/7 repetitiveness of today’s mainstream media—that letting their kids play outdoors by themselves is any more dangerous than it was when we were kids.

And don’t get me going about the recent presidential campaign and the fewer-than-half of voters who sullied that solemn office with the election of a vapid TV “reality” star. This pretender and millions of his supporters, marching in lock-step, simply declare, and apparently are convinced, that their feelings and beliefs—not science, not what they can see with their own eyes—are the only reality they trust.

     If you don’t like brie—or wine…or the office 
     of the Presidency—why accept any one of 
     them masquerading as something else?

There are countless other, smaller indications of this “illusion is the new truth” juggernaut, which, if they weren’t seen in that broader context, might seem trivial. Here’s one:

Just this afternoon, at my local Cub Foods store, I found that the bulk foods area—you know, the aisle where you buy grains, nuts, dried fruits, etc. by the pound—is gone. In its place, a few islands featuring pre-packaged quantities of a fraction of the items they offered last week.

Fortunately, I found one of my staples, dried cranberries. But the first plastic container I pulled out was labeled, “naturally-flavored CHERRY dried cranberries." The next said STRAWBERRY. Then there was MANGO and a couple of others.

Alas, there were no CRANBERRY-flavored cranberries to be found!

So what’s next in this Trump, post-truth era? Jerky-flavored brie? Beer-flavored wine? Bling-flavored sleaze? Honesty-flavored corruption?

In my righteous indignation I ask, if you don’t like brie—or wine…or the office of the Presidency—why accept any one of them masquerading as something else?


jean said...

I am old :) so I have spent a lifetime looking for what is bedrock solid, what I can trust and what I can't. I get fooled sometimes but I never give up trying to see the motives beneath the surface, the reasons people do what they do and believe what they believe. I will not live long enough to even begin to figure out what this election was about-----and there were/are many factors that will keep historians and philosophers busy for centuries or how we are going to combat or reverse the results of the reigning ignorance, but at least I can enjoy trees and growing things and people who can still feel, think and see without the interference of some sort of technological gadget. Whew! Too early in the morning for all of that :)

Jeffrey Willius said...

Jean -- How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? (Apologies to Satchel Paige)
I agree that Nature may be the only reliable truth we can know for a while. But we dare not let even Nature lull us into inaction, because a big part of what's going on in this country right now is decidedly anti-Nature.
Thanks, as always, for your faithful friendship!

jean said...

Hahaha, actually, Jeff, I am a ten-year-old in a 70-year-old body! :) And you are so right about this country now being anti-nature and actually anti-health in many ways. I am enjoying that lovely book and am giving a copy to someone who is very much like Robin Easton in her relationship to nature, quite and amazing friend.

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