The commotion surrounding Kellyanne Conway’s (Trump’s personal crazy) concept of “alternative facts” got me confused, as many humans who use their brain to think when they’re not fucking, because alternative and facts don’t belong together.
The word “alternative” is now a hot word inappropriately used in the new American government, but it’s been a relevant word in a few science fiction staple ideas (“alternate history” and “alternate universe,” for example).
Despite that superficial similarity, legendary scifi author Ursula K. Le Guin wants to make sure no one confuses what White House press secretary Sean Spicer (and assorted lunatics) do with what she does.
Writing to the Daily Oregonian, Le Guin responded to a letter which stated that “Alternative facts are not new blah blah… and concluded by name-checking Le Guin as a science fiction legend with whom that the new government fit in…
Le Guin couldn’t let it stand, so she responded:
A recent letter in The Oregonian compares a politician’s claim to tell “alternative facts” to the inventions of science fiction. The comparison won’t work. We fiction writers make up stuff. Some of it clearly impossible, some of it realistic, but none of it real – all invented, imagined — and we call it fiction because it isn’t fact. We may call some of it “alternative history” or “an alternate universe,” but make absolutely no pretense that our fictions are “alternative facts.”
Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them. The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.” The sun rises in the east. To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.
A lie is a non-fact deliberately told as fact. Lies are told in order to reassure oneself, or to fool, or scare, or manipulate others. Santa Claus is a fiction. He’s harmless. Lies are seldom completely harmless, and often very dangerous. In most times, most places, by most people, liars are considered contemptible.
Ursula K. Le Guin, Northwest Portland
In other words, whenever the words “alternative fact” comes out of a politician talk hole, you should know they’re LYING to you.
It really is a brave new world we’ve been entering…
And Le Guin is our GANDALF!!!