Friday, May 6, 2022

The Ministry of Truth

Unleash the fedrl fact-checkers!

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you're talking current events." -Jonathan Weiss ("top 100" Wikipedian, 500k edits) 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

When I heard that the Department of Homeland Security has created something called the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) I immediately knew I'd be writing a column. I didn't know that I'd be writing a different column than the one that sprang immediately to mind.

However, I'm sticking with the obvious title that came immediately to mind in spite of the fact George Orwell's Ministry of Truth also came immediately to mind to all sorts of writers and talking heads who are Orwell fans, like me, or who are at least familiar with his most well-known book.     

At the very least it serves as world-class clickbait. It's hard out here for a writer, one must never pass on the unlikely chance he/she/they will go viral and be famous for a few seconds. 

{I thought it was 15 minutes?}

When Andy Warhol predicted that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes his vision didn't include the internet, but this is a win/win/win situation from my perspective, Dana. If I'm accused of click-baiting I can claim I'm just an Orwell fan (true), that I think everyone should be (still true), and that I'm just trying to get the word out. 

Also, I predict that the woman person that Uncle Joe has designated the first Minister of Truth, Nina Jankowicz, will quickly go viral assuming the journalists and pseudo-journalists of the left start devoting as much coverage to a certain TikTok video that the journalists and pseudo-journalists of the right are. 

Clickbait + virtue signaling + wacky video = win/win/win.

But, as I hinted above, I've decided that instead of writing specifically about the Biden administration's version of the Ministry of Truth I'm taking a different tack. Besides, The Fedrl Gummit's already dancing the Biden Backpedal and it's hard to tell exactly what the DGBs who/what/when/where/why is going to be. 

It occurred to me that I could avoid having to write a synopsis of Orwell's literary version of what a very powerful government's ministry of propaganda would be like for the uninformed or the uninterested...

{I don't suppose it had anything to do with your lifelong hatred of writing about writing?}

I figured I could turn to my old but estranged friend, Wikipedia, although our relationship ain't what it used to be. 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I no longer cough up the occasional requested donation when founder Jimmy Whales asks me to although I feel guilty about using and often enjoying, but not paying for, the hard work of others. In my defense, no less a personage than John Stossel is on my side.   

Anyways... I found a thorough and otherwise reasonably well-written article titled "Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-four" that starts off by providing the names of the ministries and explaining that the names are radically contradictory to their actual function. But it also states that:

The use of contradictory names in this manner may have been inspired by the British and American governments; during the Second World War, the British Ministry of Food oversaw rationing (the name "Ministry of Food Control" was used in World War I) and the Ministry of Information restricted and controlled information, rather than supplying it; while, in the U.S., the War Department was abolished and replaced with the "National Military Establishment" in 1947 and then became the Department of Defense in 1949, right around the time that Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. (My emphasis.)

May have been inspired? This is pure speculation/bias on the writer's part, that's been included in an encyclopedia. The author then cites three footnotes that don't even mention Orwell's "inspiration," making it look like his/her/their notion is widely shared... unless you read them. 

{You actually read footnotes?}

Rarely, but the "may have" set off my bonkercockie detector for valid reasons that would require another column to explain.

{Valid reasons... that are probably quite boring?} 

That's not the point.

[Dana executes an exaggerated yawn] 

{There's a point?}


The Wikipedia entry a given H. sapien may stumble on while trying to discover why there's such a fuss over the establishment of a disinformation governance board by unelected bureaucrats, that's run by an unelected bureaucrat here in "the land of the free," begins with misinformation.

That irony alone is enough to...

{I just don't see your problem. Would you like to co-sign my email alerting Ministerette Jancowitcz? I wonder if there are going to be bias response teams like they have at colleges and universities nowadays? Even Harvard's got one... or better yet, misinformation SWAT teams.}  

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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