I have a bad feeling about this
this might be what breaks me

qotd, what is truth

"Jim: Oh Jesus. John, I'm all for postmodernism, and the varieties of interpretation that can shape how we approach the past, but I think it's also undeniable that there is actually an objective past made up of real actions and real statements from real people in the world, however clumsy or inaccurate we are at recording it or approximating it or making meaning out of it in our mental models. One of the purposes of history, other than interpreting and making meaning out of the past, is to figure out what in fact actually happened...I agree that we should be open to new interpretations of history, but just because you're open to new interpretations doesn't mean that all interpretations are valid."

-- The Lifespan of a Fact. John D'Agata and Jim Fingal. (Read more about it here. (Also: I found it really interesting but, admittedly, wanted to punch both of them right in the neck more than once. YMMV.)

(And, also, in light of the recent Mike Daisey/TAL tempest, two thoughts: 1) When I first heard the story, I thought Daisey was the luckiest man in the world for stumbling into all of those great sources in just a couple of days. That never happens that quickly, especially when you are dealing with language and culture differences. If conventionally reported (or, rather, reported rather than fabricated) finding all of those folks would have been the work of a couple of weeks at least. 2) When the writer won't provide the information you need to independently fact check the story, you spike the story. Period.)


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