|Robert Martin, emeritus curator of the Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum, from a video created for Day of Facts.|
Facts can delight: A car dashboard is so named because buggies and wagons had a tilted board in that position to block mud kicked up by horses’ hooves.
Facts can warn: Smoking cigarettes will, on average, shorten your life by 10 years.
Facts can inspire: If you quit smoking by age 35, you can claw those lost years back.
A relevant fact is a powerful thing. In that spirit, Friday, Feb. 17, has been dubbed the “Day of Facts” and 270 cultural institutions in the United States and 13 other countries have signed up to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to share important facts.
|Turkish manuscript from 1600, showing a map of the Americas|
with the south at the top, illustrating the long history of cultural
exchange between Islam and the West (Newberry Library)
“The idea is for libraries and museums and archives across the country and around the world to post mission-related content as a way of reassuring the public that, as institutions, we remain trusted sources of knowledge,” said Alex Teller, director of communications at the Newberry Library. “It reflects recognition among a number of different institutions that while our missions haven’t changed, they’ve taken on a new significance in an era of alternative facts.”
Those words sound carefully weighed. And for good reason. In this atmosphere of official vindictiveness, there is a real risk of payback. So I asked directly: Is this a reaction to Donald Trump?
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If federal funding for any of these institutions is threatened as a result of their disseminating facts (and as Neil says, how the HELL did that become a political act?), people should scream loud and long. That is OUR tax money. "Winning" a national election by a complete fluke due to 30,000 votes in three states does not give them the right to tear up every institution that displeases them. We pay taxes for the services we need and want, not to serve the greater glory of Donald Trump.ReplyDelete
Although it probably is not possible, I'd love to see him call one of those "so-called" press conferences and have the reporters not show up or maybe all just get up and all leave when he steps up to the podium. It truly was a waste of time.ReplyDelete
It would be a press conference with nothing but Breitbart and Newsmax. Trump's dream, in other words.Delete
Giving Trump and his fiends the benefit of the doubt, one could plausibly insist that "alternative facts" was intended to mean an alternative interpretation of facts verified by reliable sources. We might also charitably say that some of the palpable untruths bubbling up from the cauldron of seething anger and bitterness that is the White House these days are simple exaggerations or careless misstatements or rhetorical gestures not to be taken seriously did not Mr. Trump insist over and over again that he intends to honor (if that's the right word) the pledges he made during his campaign. Oh, what a sorry mess the finely oiled machine is making of good sense, good manners and whatever good luck we have left.ReplyDelete