Terminal Context in the era of Post-Truth

An Open Letter from Chair of Communications of Terminal Context, Colin Oscopey

So, allegedly, and according to other sources who just positively love buzzwords, we are living in a ‘post-truth’ era. But what exactly does this mean?

Well, scholars suggest that after an era of consistent social and technological enlightenment, people are getting fed up with feeling the negative consequences of war, continually over-exploiting the planet, ruining it and likely killing us all in the process, gluttonously gobbling consumer products made in third world hell-dens by likely less-than-willing employees and (at least certainly in the West) being bombarded with images of starving AIDS orphans while we wipe our backsides with 24ct gold toilet paper. This weariness means people now want to move to an era of Randian, selfish, isolated objectivism-lite where the state should help some but not others. It essentially says “I’ve got mine and, even if I didn’t, I will say I worked hard for it. Thus you can’t have it, and I’m sick of you trying to get yours in the same place I get mine.”

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A small, off-duty, Czechoslovakian traffic warden.*

Think of it a bit like feeling as if your partner was cheating on you because two entirely unrelated strangers are having sex in the house next door to yours, and you do not perceive yourself as having had enough sex, even if you are reasonably sated. Why are these other people allowed to have sex when you’re not getting as much of it as it is possible to get? What if they’re poorer than you? They haven’t earned their sex. Maybe their disabled? Then shouldn’t they be busy coughing up a lung or having hospital appointments to have sex. Unemployed? Get a job, you’ve no time for sex. What if they’re from another country? How dare they come to your country to have sex, if they wanted to have sex why didn’t they do it in their own country. They’re probably engaged in some weird, foreign sex that scares you. They know more than one position! They’ve probably got some sick religion that allows them to do sex in a way you aren’t allowed to do sex. How dare they have a more varied sex life when they’re not even you!

You’ve been put into competition with everyone else, and you weren’t even asked if you wanted to be. Maybe it worked fine when we were stark bollock naked, chucking rocks at each other from distant caves. But in a world with Nandos?

Long has this been presented, the myth that in some way human competition, rather than cooperation, makes the world a better place and gives us great innovation and prosperity. It is, in itself, a pre-post-truth post-truthism. Surely there is something contradictory about it? How would the teamwork have been if the three musketeers had said “All for one and each one for themselves.” It’s confusing, right? They might be able to fight beside each other but never honestly, and without suspicion. It’s a conundrum and adds to the confusion that already exists because the world is terrible and we seem powerless to stop it. This makes convenient, palatable lies that appeal to all the right emotions exactly what people are looking for.

There are problems in the world. If they’re not our problems, somebody else should fix them. If they are our problems, somebody else should fix them because they are not our fault.

There’s wealth in the world. If you have lots of it, you obviously worked hard and deserve it. If you have none, well you should have worked harder, and refer to the above statement on problems.

Seeing islands of trash out in the ocean does not mean people are doing bad things for the environment, it’s just natural cycles. Besides, how does this affect me? Or the price of my house?

No, drugs are terrible. Why can’t these wasters just get jobs and then spend their weekends quaffing mediocre red wine until they collapse after a passive-aggressive spat with their spouse like any other normal person?

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A red and blue striped golfing umbrella.*

Can you see how this is going to work? It’s basically that the entire history of the world, henceforth, is going to literally be bollocks. Irrational, emotionally stirring and you can’t believe a word of it. I don’t even reckon all those famous people died in 2016 anymore. Somewhere out there is an island with Rupert Murdoch’s name on the land deeds, with Prince having a long island iced tea with George Michael whilst Carrie Fisher sings karaoke with David Bowie, and Alan Rickman laughs joyously. We cannot believe a word of it. We live in the post-truth era, where people can present lies, call them ‘alternate facts’, and make out as if they were true.

Elephants come from Venus – it’s true, there’s no data to back it up, but none to categorically disprove it either, no one has done a serious investigation. But you can bet your arse if someone authoritative enough says it, and gets it repeated in newspapers and on television, a significant proportion of wankers would believe it. This is post-truth, in a nutshell.

Given that this is the spirit of news and world affairs these days, Terminal Context are proud to announce that henceforth all of our news will be lies. Agenda pushing, dishonourable lies, every single story. Not one of them true. Until now we have done our best to maintain journalistic integrity when it comes to reporting such stories as the dinosaur outbreak in Nuneaton, our exclusive interview with the universe itself, and the shocking story that Taylor Swift is actually, genealogically, part cat.

No longer will we report startling facts like that. Instead we’ll just tell you disabled people are spongers, brown people are shifty, homelessness is an individual rather than social failing, the idea that leaving the EU will tank your currency is just scaremongering, marijuana is the Devil’s lettuce, unemployment is the fault of the unemployed, you are not safe anywhere you go, and they found a World War II aircraft on the moon.

Unfortunately, our transition to this new way of doing things has been hugely problematic. Not least because of the mass staff walk-out. So, we unfortunately remain on hiatus. I’m sure we can encourage them back with a few post-truths and a little healthy competition, like an ‘employee of the month’ award. That Timmy never wins.

Until then, huge thanks to everyone who has supported us, and continues to support us, despite a very long absence. Life just gets complicated, you know? Thinking about it is hard, sorting things out is hard. I’d love to find a convenient scapegoat to escape the itching feeling that a simultaneous fear of success and failure, twinned with crippling self-doubt and over-thinking and under-acting, likely caused by a deep-seated dissatisfaction with life, or at least my lot in it, causing a fundamental seed of envy to grow into a tree of hate, leading to a retreat from the world and my part in it – all personal issues to be conquered by myself, preferably with the help of others – are to blame.

Oh wait! It’s the post-truth era, that’s exactly what I get to do. The whole point is to conveniently brush complex problems under the carpet by finding a convenient and usually only vicariously related scapegoat.

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The Bolivian navy on manoeuvres in the South Pacific.*

 

I’ve got it. Russian hackers infected my brain with performance depleting malware.

No, Russians are too obvious. Maybe Germans? No, they seem innocuous enough at the moment.

People on hang gliders deflecting the sun’s rays prevented me from getting enough Vitamin D to actually write stuff.

That’s believable, right? Nah, who am I kidding, there aren’t enough hang gliders.

Cat fanciers?

Marauding army of migrant spoons?

The National Union of Haberdashery?

Come on their must be something…I’ve got it!

The public. Maybe we’re all to blame. How about that? Not the fucking media for influencing us, not the lies of the establishment, not cat fanciers, it’s our fucking fault. Terminal Context are currently not working because us dumb bastards changed the game because we just fancied a change out a vague sense of unrest and dissatisfaction with a certain something we can’t even put our bloodstained little finger on that boils down to little more than a weird sense of collective social boredom at the mediocrity of the Lockean social contract we stupidly fucking failed to rebel against. What’s a little harm, we’ve got our detached semi in the suburbs, so fuck it, vote how we want, do any stupid shit, believe any disgruntled little scrote who agrees with us, just so long as they scream things that are hateful about people who we don’t perceive to be us. Then, when those people get worried, blame them and tell them they’re weak willed, yellow bellied and thin skinned, why not? After all, it couldn’t be us, we just have legitimate grievances, not unfounded fears tainted by our own tedious experience and dissatisfaction leading to a manifest, hateful, externalised self-loathing. We just want what’s best.

We’ve found the scapegoat and our first foray into post-truth. Welcome to a new era.

 

* Copyright Red Dwarf, thanks for the perfect illustrative post-truth gag. 

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