I bumped into my old neighbor the other day in a Safeway parking lot. It was quite by accident that I recognized her at all, decked out in a hazmat coat, surgical gloves on her hands, and sporting a tent-sized mask draped over two thirds of her face. Emblazoned on this facial banner was a gasping coiled serpent with the inscription, “Don’t Breathe on Me!” Had she not been unlocking the door of her distinctive ’88 Volvo, so plastered in environmental stickers that the rear end nearly dragged on pavement, I never would have known it was Sally.
“Hello, Sally,” I hollered. “It’s been a long time.”
Her response was somewhat muffled but I could make out something about hiding out in her basement. She appeared nervous that I might approach within an imaginary 12 foot perimeter so I stationed myself a car length away which seemed to relieve her immensely. “So how are Tom and the kids,” I spoke extra loud to bridge the distance.
“I couldn’t actually say,” she retorted. “I had them move into a motel room when school started, out of safety concerns. We do a lot of Face-time. It’s just better that way.”
“That sounds a little extreme, Sally… I mean, they are your kids.”
“Still, one can’t be too careful in a deadly pandemic,” she offered.
“Huh? I read that some experts in Davos admit that this was the least virulent pandemic in 2,000 years. How deadly is that?”
“Maybe so, Fred, but I won’t have my kids riddled with guilt if I were to die or something. You know, over 90% of cases originate in one’s own home.”
Sally had always been one of those nervous hypochondriac types, but this reaction nevertheless astounded me. “Sounds to me, Sally, like you’ve been listening to the ‘Truth Fairies’.”
“The Truth Fairies – you know, those impeccably coiffed human robots in heavy makeup, with mockingly insincere smiles, who anchor all the TV newsrooms and spin mountains of data from the NIH, WHO, CDC, and other alphabet agencies into spellbinding narratives designed to sell lots of air-time to hungry advertisers.”
“You always were a cynic, Fred. But for their information few of us would realize what racist, misogynist leaders we’ve had to suffer through, or just how much damage we humans are doing to our fragile climate. To make matters worse add in all those flatulent cows excreting tons of methane into our once pure atmosphere. Thanks to channel 4, I now realize just how bad things have gotten; and to think that I myself might have been out there thoughtlessly infecting others, or even (releasing an audible gasp) still eating RED MEAT!”
“Well, Sally, I would say the Truth Fairies have done an excellent job of raising your consciousness. So how do you find life isolated from your family and subsisting on tofu in your cellar?”
“All I can say is that I’m doing my part, which makes my misery somewhat more bearable.”
“Well perhaps you don’t need to be living like a hermit in a state of self imposed misery. Maybe, just one possibility to consider is that your media Truth Fairies are neither real fairies nor especially truthful. After all, it’s not just the fact that they all seem to share the same opinions and biases on everything, but it appears very suspicious when they uniformly resort to the exact same words and identical phrases in their reporting.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean today’s news media has become an echo chamber which chants a single party line like some religious mantra. For example, despite mountains of evidence, even videos, of irregularities involving the recent election, our elite investigative press corps unanimously dismissed out of hand any talk of possible fraud as “unfounded” or “baseless claims.” Again, three simple words, “Due to Covid,” has become the unquestioned standard justification for any arbitrary suspension of basic civil liberties and egregious government overreach into people’s private lives.”
“You now sound like some conspiracy lunatic, Fred.”
“And I suppose I only imagined Facebook and Twitter shutting down tens of thousands of accounts because users expressed ideas disagreeable to Big Tech Corporate oligarchs. We are witnessing the widespread suppression of ideas and opinions deemed by Truth Fairy “fact checkers” to be dangerous, oppressive, and divisive simply because they deviate from their orthodox Truth Fairy narrative. Such censorship even extends to a President of the United States because any departure from Truth Fairy orthodoxy must be quickly and unceremoniously squelched. No discussion and no debate allowed. Even established history is not exempt – it all gets “reinterpreted” to fit the Truth Fairy version.
“Whoever denies the Truth Fairies is liable to be demonized, cancelled, labelled as an enemy of mankind, portrayed as racist, hateful, and irresponsible even as the favored friends of the Truth Fairy juggernaut incite civil unrest, riot, and burn cities with impunity. Yet honest decent people are now loosing their jobs, friends, customers, and businesses for simply attending a peaceful rally or daring to disagree with Big Tech’s self appointed Truth Fairies.
“I think you are exaggerating the state of affairs, Fred. America is a land of freedom….”
“You mean where government Truth Fairies can change your vote or decide whether to count it or not; they can arbitrarily restrict you from attending a ball game, your kid’s graduation ceremony, or going to church? They can refuse you access to public buildings and libraries that your tax dollars paid for and yet fine you for having too many people in your own home. I guess that’s one person’s definition of freedom, Sally, just not mine.
“Today’s Truth Fairy dialogue is trending dangerously close to the historic Nazi and Communist interpretations of truth – the kind of truth that comes out of the mouth of a gun. Such “truth” has always been prefaced by unchallenged party propaganda which imposes speech controls to muzzle any opposition. Today’s euphemism for muzzling is called “fact checking” but its purpose is the same. History has shown time and again that the Truth Fairy is a childish figment which leads one not to liberty or equality but to the guillotine and the gulag.”
“Well perhaps this freedom thing has been too highly overrated anyway,” quipped Sally, obviously exasperated.
I smiled sardonically as she drove away. Having never known anything worse, she obviously had no great appreciation for the true value of freedom. For all the Sallies of the world it had perhaps come too cheaply, but at least she had one thing to cling to – her Truth Fairy.
Francis J. Pierson + a.m.d.g.