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The year we gave up on reality Some lies matter more than others

He doesn't know which way to jump (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


December 21, 2021   4 mins

I have been thinking about truth a lot lately. Does it matter? Have we finally reached a consensus on Nietzsche’s claim that “there are no facts only interpretations”? Or is that consensus breaking down?

Today, we simply accept that leaders lie; not just occasionally but habitually. Trump did. Johnson does. Putin got there way before either of them. And yet, strangely, part of Johnson’s appeal has always been said to be his “authenticity”. He is a real person. His history of lying did not bother many people, nor his history of betraying everyone he has worked for or every woman he has been involved with. The electorate could not be expected to know the truth about Borisconi’s career.

I started calling him that because he always was — pre-Trump — the only politician with a similarly acute understanding of the incestuous relationship between politicians and the media. Surely he could be king of both? Or so he thought. He could control what he understood to be the most important thing about power, which was not “truth” but “the narrative”. His narrative was “fun”. For Bunga Bunga parties just substitute batshit-crazy Jennifer Arcuri and a Christmas quiz.

But things fall apart. Some lies matter more than others. This must have been a shock to Borisconi because the visual evidence of his lies — the video, the photo — cuts through. No amount of wordplay or random classical references can make people unsee what they have seen. Mirabile dictu!

Just as the CCTV footage of Matt Hancock snogging his bit on the side did for him, so these photos did for Downing Street. Those who worked for Borisconi were sent out to lie for him, and then he lied about them too. This we know for certain. It is not an idea, an opinion, or an interpretation. It is a fact.

But it’s not necessarily the end for him. He may stagger on until the next wave of the virus has passed. Who, quite frankly, would want to take over right now? He may chuck it in, not because he suddenly acquires a sense of morality or even shame, but because he is skint and there is money to be made in them there hills of after-dinner buffoonery.

I’m so tired of writing about the mendacity and entitlement of the man, though. I would far rather talk about another man who has also made me think about the nature of reality this week (and whom I unashamedly adore): Keanu Reeves.

Normally, press junkets for a new film are nothing more than dull promotion. But in their interviews for The Matrix Resurrections, Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss answered questions about the nature of reality in interesting ways. The Matrix, after all, is an entire world of distraction — and an influential one at that. Who could have known in 1999 how it would infiltrate our culture?

Take “redpilling”, a term which has come to be used by many men’s rights activists, largely thanks to a Reddit thread in which men discuss waking up to the reality that women oppress men. Not all these guys are incels, but redpilling is nearly always talked about online by those on the anti-feminist Right.

For some, the notion of questioning reality that The Matrix so cleverly explored has morphed into a denial of reality. Sure, men are oppressed — but more so than women? Is that the radical breakthrough that the red pill offers? Apparently so.

Will facts and statistics change their minds? I know now that we are living in a profoundly anti-science moment. Anti-vaxxers do not believe in science. Many trans-activists do not accept basic biology. Grace Lavery talks of a liberated future in which transwomen like herself will be able to have abortions — and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I have fought my entire life for women’s right to abortion. But since transwomen cannot get pregnant, I wonder how this is progressive, how this fantasy of womanhood is in any way radical, and not in some way deeply insulting to women’s actual experience of abortion? Can we really say physical reality has had its day?

Reeves talked in an interview about having dinner with a director who had his three teenage children with him. They had not seen The Matrix, so he explained that it was about a guy in a virtual world who was trying to get back to reality. The young girl asked: “Why? Who cares if it’s real?” Keanu said: “You don’t care if it’s real?” She said: “No”. When the interviewer asked Keanu how it made him feel, he paused and said: “Awesome.”

Are we the 17-year-old girl at dinner with Keanu Reeves who no longer cares what is real? I’m not convinced. Reality TV, itself scripted and managed, may be coming to the end of its cruel reign. Yet it was Ant and Dec on I’m A Celebrity, gunning for our Prime Minister, who alerted the Westminster bubble to the idea that the non-stop pizza, quiz, cheese and wine gatherings during lockdown was ‘cutting through’. A basic unfairness was exposed; a truth about rules not applying to those who govern us.

It was almost as if reality mattered, that endless lying was no longer acceptable. There is always something that punctures the Matrix. It’s there in The Communist Manifesto: “Man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”

Sure, it’s more comfortable to be fooled. But in the end, we have to do the work. We can argue forever about subjective and objective truth but hold the hand of a new baby or the hand of a person who is about to die and tell me that everything is virtual and nothing matters.

You can’t can you? The glitch in the Matrix is where we find ourselves. It’s the only place to be.


Suzanne Moore is an award-winning columnist and journalist. She won the Orwell Prize in 2019.

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Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

There I was thinking that redpilling meant finally seeing the truth. Oh well, there are a few men on this site that are hardened mens rights activists and are sure to make some enthusiastic commentary.
On the subject of leaders lying – why select the past president of the US (together with the current prime minister of the UK) to illustrate the point… why not use the present president? There are after all compilations of the outrageous lies Biden has told over many years – thank you TV. The reference to Trump was mediocre stereotypical writing.
Then talking of lying, what about this whopper “anti-vaxxers do not believe in science” – stated as fact.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

Why? Because your presence on Unherd is a temporary inconvenience with your temporary allies against the trannies. Once you’ve seen off the trannies you’ll go back to Guardian la la land where you belong to resume your selective diatribing against the right, ignoring the sins of the left.

Hersch Schneider
HS
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Lesley van Reenen is no Guardianista!

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago

Davids comment is directed to Suzanne Moore not Lesley, the thought of Lesley writing for the Grievance is a funny one though. That building full of safe space snowflakes might literally melt once she started talking sense to them.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Haha. I largely ignore The Guardian, but in the past few days so many panicked Guardian headlines came down my Facebook timeline that I felt moved to comment this morning.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Obviously. Some people really are thick.

Hersch Schneider
HS
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Cool guy

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

I think you meant to post this as a comment not a reply.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Er, I didn’t but thanks for the tip.

Naren Savani
Naren Savani
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

You can take the person out of the Guardian,but can never take the Guardians bulshit out of the person!

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Naren Savani

It worked for me though. I was a faithful Guardian reader since student days, until about five years ago when I couldn’t stand the woke rubbish any longer. I don’t think there’s much G BS left in me by now!

Last edited 2 years ago by Hilary LW
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Me too. But you saw through the BS quicker than me.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Interesting that when you are sagging off another commentator, you use the word “trannies”, which you well know is both insulting and not a true description of the people you mean. Maybe you think you are witty. Unfortunately for you, it simply makes you look ignorant.

David McDowell
DM
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Is ‘trannies’ Unherd?

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
2 years ago

mediocre stereotypical writing” is the hallmark of Suzanne Moore’s work. I don’t understand how she manages to keep her place at DT or UH. I don’t think having been ostracized by her Guardian’s brethren is sufficient.

Michael O'Donnell
IS
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago

I’m sorry? What sort of science do anti-vaccers believe in? Homeopathy? Reiki? Alchemy?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

People who are Covid vaccine hesitant, are not all anti-vaxxers. They in fact DO follow different sides of the safety argument (as discussed by scientists), as opposed to believing compromised media outlets, non-impartial organisations (think the FDA) and many compromised scientists. Some of these scientists and doctors are not compromised, but do not speak out for fear of losing their livelihoods.

Su Mac
SM
Su Mac
2 years ago

What would you call medical scientists, doctors, nurses, immunologists, virologists, GP’s, pathologists, vaccine designers, data analysts, epidemiologists etc who have reservations about the Covid vaccine then? “Anti science”? I can only assume that after +18 months of this drama you have still not looked properly at any independent thinking by qualified experts outside of the mainstream narrative…
My sister is just the same, highly educated, busy and completely trusting of letting the media and government tell her what is going on, never letting any glaring contradictions puzzle her for more that a few minutes. I am the other type and perhaps sceptical/contrary by nature. I have watched/read hours and hours of testimony and interviews by qualified scientific experts in order to satisfy myself. I have filtered out the nutters who believe in Atlantis and alchemy and despite being fully vaccinated at a travel clinic in 2017 with all the recommended protections I am confident in my risk/benefit decision not to take part in this “experiement”.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago

Any day now I expect to transmute lead into gold. Wanna buy stock in my company? I’ll make you a good deal as you will be getting in on the bottom floor.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
2 years ago

Yes, kind of funny she talks about politicians lying and then casually tosses out that whopper. Extra funny considering how well known the phrase is. But we should accept her lie, apparently, because it’s different when she does it

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

“anti-vaxxers do not believe in science” – this bizarre statement just makes my head twist into knots if I try to take it seriously, especially the patented “believe in science” part. I can only make sense of it by considering it to be used as a tool to disparage and signal rather than have any actual meaning.
Also, when it comes to leaders who lie. Yes, it is part of the job. At the same time, I think that our Mr. Biden really doesn’t differentiate between truth and lie as much as between what will further his agenda or not.

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
2 years ago

Like when Biden stole Neil Kinnock’s biography?

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago

I got no further than:
‘Today, we simply accept that leaders lie; not just occasionally but habitually. Trump did. Johnson does. Putin got there way before either of them.’
Merkel ? Nein
Obama ? Hapana
Madame Trudeau ? Est-ce que vous plaisantez ?
St Jacinda Twinkle-Dust ? Oooooh, NO !!
Should I have read further ? What’s the point ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Julie Blinde
Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

I thought exacy the same. On the Trump v Obama lying scale there is one clear winner and it isn’t the one she referenced. And Trump in a lying competition with Hilary Clinton wouldn’t be allowed as they are clearly at different weight levels. Clinton is a heavyweight and Trump a bantam weight.

George Glashan
GG
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

I’m glad to have Suzanne Moore here, it means I’ve nearly filled out my exiled Guardian writers bingo card. If Onan Jones or George Montybont writes an article for unherd I win a car.

Francis MacGabhann
FM
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Maybe Unherd is actually a UN refugee camp.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

OJ is the hero of my heroic couplet satire The Wokeiad:-
Wokeness observes it all, and is well pleased
To see the body politic diseased.
And yet one element eludes her eye,
One piece is missing from the jigsaw lie.
“It wants,” she snarls, “a useful idiot,
Some naive kidult who resents his lot,
Some milquetoast b3ll3nd, wet behind the ears
Some thirty summer suckling prone to tears. 180
His name is Legion, though, for he is many,
His kind’s superfluous and two a penny.
I face a cute embarrassment of choice.”
Just then is heard a chafing, peevish voice,
The whine of angel fallen into Hell,
Not so much ringing as to crack a bell.
Wokeness looks down to see who harshly moans
And fixes basilisks on O___ J___.
Half Oxon scholar and half stream of p155
A Gaveston unsponsored by Marquis, 190
Vile parcel of caught dirt from Shoreditch pub,
A chrysalid which hatched a writhing grub,
A scribe who now the noble chav defends
And now with fierce polemic gammon rends.
Today, quite out of countenance, young J___
For his oppressive whiteness thus atones,
Reclined like Chatterton without his looks
Upon his bed of anti-racist books:
‘Why I’ll No Longer To Pale Cracker Talk’,
‘100 Recipes For Curing Pork’, 200
‘On The Fragility Of Mr Snow’,
‘Laugh At The Tears Of Mrs Wypipo’.
A hundred other tomes haphazard spill
O’er unwashed coffee cup and unpaid bill.
While J___, this farouche starveling Jabba Hut
Troubles deaf Heaven with his scuttlebut.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Well done. I hope to see this piece anthologized alongside Pope, Dryden and the wicked Earl of Rochester.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ludwig van Earwig
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Thanks, I’d love that, but I wouldn’t dream of comparing myself to Pope’s genius.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

At first I thought this was about O.J. Simpson. Then I was just confused. Happens a lot lately.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Yes this obvious partisan list spoiled the point. Politicians lie. It’s in the job description. I went to University in the early 80s to study politics which I had always been interested in and still am. I intended fully to pursue a career in politics. I had the opportunity to be involved with people that went on to have decent political careers. What I couldn’t do though was change my mind and my opinion when a policy changed. I was unable to ignore inconvenient facts. Unwilling to go along to get along, I wasn’t very clubbable. I reaslised that I was no good at politics. I was, in fact, cured.
To Suzanne’s list you could add the duplicity of Starmer campaigning to get Corbyn into No10 and stating boldly that Corbyn would be a good PM. And 3 months later throw him out of the Labour Party for anti-semitism.
Or you could look at the LibDems criticising Labour from the left when Labour was in office and then joining a coalition with the Tories in 2010.
They are all liars, cheats, and calculating manipulators of facts and narratives. All of them. So let’s get over that and then we can understand what is happening in politics, and in wider society, a little better.

Last edited 2 years ago by Samuel Gee
Andrew Dalton
AD
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

You can take the journalist out of the Guardian, but you can’t take the Guardian out of the journalist.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Exact.

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago

“Will facts and statistics change their minds? I know now that we are living in a profoundly anti-science moment. Anti-vaxxers do not believe in science.”

Has Suzanne Moore been out and asked a statistically representative sample of anti-vaxxers about their beliefs? Can she point to a reliable study? If not the she herself is making a claim which she cannot substantiate, which itself is “profoundly anti-science”.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

Yes, she has lumped all “anti-vaxxers” together.

I suspect not many people who chose not to be vaccinated would say that they are against science (I have no figures to back this up). I haven’t come across deliberately anti-science comments in UnHerd, although we are hardly representative of the population.

I think most of us either look at different scientific sources, or interpret them differently. Maybe some of us look at unreliable sources. It’s hard to avoid using what we read to support our existing beliefs, and not to restrict what we read to sources that we agree with.

It’s human nature, and maybe something that evolved to aid the survival of our tribe

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Yes, she has lumped all “anti-vaxxers” together.

Climate bedwetters do the same. If you question one iota of their religion or the whole thing, you’re a denier. There are no gradations.
It’s a useful indicator of bad faith.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
2 years ago

Does Suzanne Moore know what an “anti-vaxxer” is? I am so sick and tired of this derogatory, lazy, insulting, uselessly generic label being used by people who really should know better. She should also know that many of those she might consider it fit and proper to apply this label to have spent the last two years educating themselves about science rather simply swallowing the poisonous misinformation served up on a daily basis by deluded and / or compromised mainstream journalists and politicians. That’s the real assault on the truth.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Best comment of the day

Mel Bass
MB
Mel Bass
2 years ago

This term ‘anti-vaxxer’ is bandied glibly about but people who use it never seem to question what it means. I’m one apparently, because I haven’t had the covid jabs for medical reasons, but I spent many years in science and research, so I’m hardly anti-science. Likewise, I know several other quite ordinary, sensible people who are happy to ‘believe’ in science (and it’s not a flipping religion, fgs), but have also declined the vaccines because, for example, they’ve already had covid. None of us are anything like a neighbour of mine, who is a real Piers Corbyn-style conspiracy theorist and thinks the vaccines contain alien DNA or microchips, put there by the Illuminati. He’s hilarious to talk to and mad as a box of frogs, yet seems to be the rare extreme who ‘represents’ the unvaccinated, aka ‘plague rats’ as we’ve been called. Ridiculous.

Virginia McGough
VM
Virginia McGough
2 years ago

The people I know who have refused the vaccine have done so because it has been cultured on cell lines derived from an aborted baby. I’ve decided that it’s nevertheless morally acceptable to have the vaccine, but I have great respect for their principles.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago

I agree with the author about the importance of the distinction between truth and falsehood, illusion and reality. But I’m afraid that, for such a brief piece, too many issues are being tackled at once.

What is under discussion?

A. Is it the propensity of politicians to lie? That is, they know the truth, but misrepresent it deliberately. Here, we the public – knowing that politicians sometimes lie – adopt a sceptical stance towards their utterances.

B. Or is it the alarming trend for some individuals and groups to abandon reality and reason? In other words (unlike the politicians) they don’t know the difference between truth and falsehood; they are mentally living in a world where transwomen can have abortions. They believe something which is impossible. They are deluded.

C. Or is it, like the 17-year-old girl talking to Keanu Reeves, who seems to accept that there is a difference between reality and illusion, but says ‘Who cares if it’s real?’ They are aware of illusion, but happily accept it.

A. Liars; but we know their game, we can make allowances. B. Nutters; but, disturbingly, law-makers, the police, universities, the media, pander to their delusions. (And why are they doing this?) C. A new generation who are not liars or nutters, but just don’t care about reality.

A, B, or C: which is the most terrifying?

jim peden
JP
jim peden
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

I vote for option D.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

B

David McDowell
DM
David McDowell
2 years ago

Why stop at Johnson and Trump unless you’re trying to get your Guardian job back?
Every statesman in my adult lifetime has lied to get elected and then lied again to get things done when in office. Electors know this is the deal and price it in when they vote.

Last edited 2 years ago by David McDowell
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

“I’m so tired of writing about the mendacity and entitlement of the man”
And, given her history in the left wing media, Suzanne Moore ventures into extreme irony. Does she have even a smidgeon, an atom, of self-awareness?

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

all the while talking about the politicians’ tendency to lie… The irony is palpable…

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Reality may have something to do with the sense of smell. Everywhere is sterile now in terms of smells and scents compared to the olden days. In the old days, in abundance, we had the smell of used ashtrays, cigar smoke, the tape in cassettes, tea urns and sodden tea bags, of heady petrol stations, coal fires, old fur coats, shoe polish, perfume (cheap), dampness, dank and warm beer, mantle-piece-fastened socks being dried up as they dangled over the fire, cathode-ray-tube television, leather seats, and combinations of some of these things in a location: think whisky and what have you. No wonder people talk excitedly today about being in the bazaars of Morocco or wherever. The sights, the … smells.
How can the young today see the reality of fictional film when they have never even seen recording tape? They really do must think the real world is as real as the virtual world. But they miss out on a world without smells. The extractor fans today are the best things since sliced bread.

In the old days, people used soap and hot water to clean tables. Now they are there with their disinfectant spray guns ready to blast to death, like the gun-slinging cowboy, the few crumbs on the table top by showering the whole restaurant in a fug of chemical spray. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! Oh … ahem, for the old days! Mmmm.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Back in the days before Covid, I worked in a corporate that had little chemical sanitizer pods everywhere. I enthusiastically avoided the chemicals and was happier living with a bit of dirt.
This constant spraying of sanitizer cannot be a good thing.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

It might well cause some allergies and probably does.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago

I suspect that smell has a strong link to reality because it has evolved differently in the brain from the other senses. Smells have very strong associations to events in ones life but they are not relayed to the cortex through the thalamus in the way other senses are. Recollection is very limited and you cannot imagine a made-up smell in the way you can sound and vision.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

Ms Moore,
You’ve spent the majority of your journalistic career at the Guardian – a newspaper that now delivers a “curated reality” to its readers that is every bit as divorced from “objective reality” as those you choose to criticise in your article.
It’s a wonder you hadn’t noticed.
I read the Guardian for many years, when it was committed to fearless journalism. Any journalist or editor who had a genuine interest in printing the truth, without forcing it through the prism of Guardian-approved orthodoxy, should shudder at what you have all done to the legacy of that once-serious newspaper.
I’m sorry to say it is only when you were ostracised and denounced by your former colleagues – for daring to have strayed from the group-think – that you noticed the hive-mind, though, incredibly and somewhat self-servingly – you still seem to give them a pass for the blatant untruths that the Guardian puts out, in favour of just complaining about the Tories …. AGAIN.
You might regain a bit of credibility if, alongside pointing out the lies, spin and distortions of those with whom you politically disagree, you also criticised the Guardian. Pandering to the intellectual smugness of their ever-dwindling readership by giving them consoling half-truths and blatant untruths is not a very edifying journalistic practice, is it? And yet you remain curiously silent on that.

Chris Mochan
CH
Chris Mochan
2 years ago

As someone who first became aware of politics during the time of Clinton and Blair, I find it astonishing that we are supposed to consider Boris Johnson a uniquely pernicious liar.
Similarly, Donald Trump is as unscrupulous as they come, but the same people who affected such disgust at his lies and prevarications enjoined Americans to vote the Clintons back into the White House. In other words, the lies only seem to matter when they’re said by someone you already despise.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

Very true!

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago

I fear we are on the verge of a mental health crisis – among anti-Boris journalists . In a couple of months, the Tories will be back ahead in the polls. In a couple of years Boris will win another majority. What will these poor scribblers do then?

Franz Von Peppercorn
MB
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Dunno, once the Brexit bounce is over I’m not sure what’s going to keep boris around. The conservatives may win in a couple of years. Boris is going to flounder from one disaster to another.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

When Covid cases go up, Tory poll leads drop (or if it’s Christmas, disappear).

I don’t think staffers in No 10 having a few illicit drinks will be any more damaging in the long term than Dom Cummings’ driving escapade or Matt Hancock’s extramarital activity. I think journalists are getting overexcited.

I expect that once the current omicron wave passes through, polls will revert to Con +5 territory.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Francis MacGabhann
FM
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

Caste based rights are funny things. Perhaps the author could explain why this supposed right of women to abortion should be paid for by the tax donkeys when the equally — practically speaking, anyway — nebulous right to free speech doesn’t entitle you to a free newspaper or radio station to propagate your views.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

Odd comment. Start a blog.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago

The alternate reality lives on the pages of left wing journalism and spews forth from the mouths of leftist politicians. Far more lies have been told about Donald Trump than he has ever uttered.

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Absolutely true. I think the major problem the left had with Trump was he kept doing things that were in his election manifesto. What kind of politician does what he says he is going to do? It is just not the done thing.

Richard Kuslan
RK
Richard Kuslan
2 years ago

“The year we gave up on reality.” Just who is “we?” Include me out, please.

john zac
john zac
2 years ago

People are now chemically attached to their biases so that they no longer want the truth.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  john zac

Nice metaphor. I agree with you on this, it happens particularly at the two extremes of the political spectrum.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
2 years ago

Suzanne Moore arrives with her amaing insight that politicians generally aim to spin narratives to their advantage. & that she likes Keanu Reeves. ‘Awesome.’
Maybe, now the trans controversy has died down, time to go back to the Guardian? Will they have her? Please?

GA Woolley
GA
GA Woolley
2 years ago

‘I have been thinking about truth a lot lately.’ But no further than the 1st paragraph.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

I read this morning that Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer is considering deposing Meghan Markle as part of the law suit against Prince Andrew, “because she can be counted on to tell the truth”.
We have officially moved into another dimension of reality.

Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
2 years ago

Suzanne Moore and Howard Jacobson contributing to Unherd in the same week.
It must be Christmas.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Jacobson was illuminating!

M Harries
M Harries
2 years ago

Can we really say physical reality has had its day?”
> Yes, it is on that which the Gender Recognition Act is based! If it wasn’t imediately apparent the trajectory should have been.

Prashant Kotak
PK
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

“…I’m so tired of writing about the mendacity and entitlement of the man, though…”

Doesn’t it pay the bills though?

Liam F
LF
Liam F
2 years ago

Hey look, whatever the opinions Suzanne Moore has expressed here (and although I disagree with them- I have to admit to being impressed with the quality of prose. It’s quite rare nowadays.

Ann Ceely
AC
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

Why call Trump’s communications lying – he’s only making the normal sort of headlines!
As is Boris …
Whereas Biden is seriously making money.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ann Ceely
Steve Walker
Steve Walker
2 years ago

“I have fought my entire life for women’s right to abortion”

What a depressing sentence.

Jorge Espinha
JE
Jorge Espinha
2 years ago

Happy whatever Suzanne! I don’t agree with 80 or 90% of what you say but I hope 2022 brings more of your articles. You are a very sharp mind. And sharp minds are needed. I ‘m with you in most of what you write this time. Reality rules in my world, tainted by my perception but reality nevertheless.
One thing good about the anti feminist right is that contrary to the anti feminist left they believe in the existence of women.
Have a great 2022.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jorge Espinha
Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
2 years ago

How can tou possibly write an article about such a film: she is training to be interviewed; when? Not clear. She giggles. So what? Even looks knowingly. What is that meant to mean? How does it relate to Johnson? A half-awake judge would throw the film out of court.
Let’s have an end to postmodern journos, please.

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

We are not living in a time of anti-science; we are living in a time of corrupted science.
“Will facts and statistics change their minds?” – remember lies, damned lies and statistics. It is all about understanding and there is nobody better than Prof Norman Fenton to explain it. Try this video for starters which gives links to his work, and you can see how many lies have been told, but not knowingly, https://youtu.be/6umArFc-fdc

Nicholas Taylor
NT
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

The photograph makes Boris look like an American evangelist. My first thought was “Isn’t that the guy who blows up the wormhole transporter in the movie ‘Contact’?” On the contrary, for all his alleged mendacity he can be refreshingly down to earth. His reluctance to concede to those who wish to lock down everything on grounds that are still controversial after two years, puts him on the side of freedom, even if his attempt to prorogue around defects in Brexit plans suggests the opposite. However, Brexit was all about shallow populism. Dealing with coronavirus goes deeper. Frankly, I find the tub thumping of tabloids and some MPs, and the scapegoating of young female assistants, more distasteful than obfuscation about year-old office parties. What should one think reasonable anyway, when half of people are elbow to elbow in stuffy pubs, while the other half queue all day in the cold for their third vaccination, and in London a third apparently don’t even intend to get vaccinated? Who wrote that program?
The seamless mixing of normality and unreality in the streets is accompanied by a sense of unreality in public policy produced by not knowing what is really going on together with constant changes in advice as to how to deal with what we do not understand. At the same time, emerging in the background is a stronger sense of reality, that the world is not a computer game we can tweak and reprogram, but functions outside our control. That at least is healthy. The way nature works is it consists of a lot of small things happening continuously and nearly invisibly, which occasionally release a cascade of big events. We see only the latter, which makes us think they are the reality and encourages us to approach everything by short-term firefighting. But the glitch in the matrix is really the cracked-open door to a vastly greater reality. Science is like a child peeping around that door, for unless we become as little children … At one time our behaviour had negligible impact on autonomous natural processes, but that is no longer the case. Maybe in time the same realisation may find its way into pretensions of personal identity too. I ramble, but it IS Christmas.

Su Mac
SM
Su Mac
2 years ago

Why is this piece of averageness on here? There is all the rest of the corporate media for people who play that game.

Malcolm Knott
MK
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

Unfortunately the left has debased the words lie and liar by using them to mean ‘going back on one’s word’ or ‘not fulfilling one’s promises’ both of which may or many not be deplorable (depending on the circumstances) but are not lies. A word debased loses its force and becomes a mere vacuous insult.

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
2 years ago

You didn’t mention Bill Clinton having his Cabinet lie for him. As much as anything, Clinton was the point when lies were no longer for reasons of state, but personal aggrandizement. When the media accepted and parroted his lies about affairs with other women, in the 1992 campaign and peaking with the Lewinsky scandal, it was “game over” for any shred of honesty.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 years ago

When so many commentators are do scathing if what is written, why do you bother subscribing and reading these articles? Surely you should be reading something else?

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Because half the fun is critically picking apart the articles, and seeing different points of view that may support or challenge your own conclusions. Nothing duller than an echo-chamber where everyone is in agreement.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

I actually love it when I change my mind about something (which is infrequent). It’s a light bulb moment

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Alernative views are most welcome. Sometimes they help reinforce your existing views, sometimes they help add to your existing views, and occasionally they make you completely reassess what you originally thought. Who wants to live in an echo chamber.