George Orwell, which made accessible to our minds with his 1984 and Animal Farm two of perhaps best examples of what came to be known as post truth, said, and I quote, when he first discovered that there is no genuinely non-political language, from his trip to Spain in 1936: “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie…. This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.”
In 1984 he imagined a time when, no longer an instrument, language might become the exemplification of a lie that had gotten beyond any man’s control.
In Animal Farm, Pig Napoleon’s famous motto that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Orwell kept emphasizing that there is a truth to all things, that this truth is often so simple that it is we who are too sophisticated to see it, “that however much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing, as it were, behind your back.” And he would tolerate no suggestion that consciousness might be ambiguous. Orwell sought a style of writing in which it would be impossible to lie without knowing it. He worked with what was conscious, to keep it that way.
Believe it or not the above introduction was taken from an article written in 1957 by Jonathan Beecher. This article is highly readable and motivates us to read his lesser known work In Homage to Catalonia.
Post Truth nowadays, as of 2019
If you live in an English speaking environment, specially the US and the UK, it is generally accepted that the “post truth” exploded to public attention with the election by the Oxford Dictionary as the 2016 word of the year. The Brexit with its Brexiteers and their buses with $350 millions pounds outdoors of weekly expense to the EC from the UK, was a good contender. The winner of post truth was the election of Donald Trump, with his schemes, which do not need to be repeated. Should Brazil represent anything the idea that President Dilma Roussef’s impeachment was a coup and the imprisonment of President Lula was political, were by far the very essence of post truth and makes George Orwell an optimist…
The Oxford Dictionaries define “post truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” They also underline that the prefix “post” is meant to indicate the idea that it is a “past truth in a temporal sense, such as “postwar”, but in the sense that the real truth has been eclipsed and became irrelevant.
Actually Post truth is a rip off from “truthiness”, defined back em 2005, by Stephen Colbert as:
“Truthiness (noun) the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the factss will support”
Take a look at the video where Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” (defined as being persuaded by whether something feels true, even if it is no necessarily backed by facts) in response to George W.Bush’s excesses in relying on his “gut” for big decisions such as the nomination of Harriet Miers for the US Supreme Court or going to war in Iraq without adequate proof of weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, what started as a big joke, doesn’t make people laugh anymore.