There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
- Benjamin Disraeli
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The terrible state of public education has paid huge dividends in ignorance. Huge. We now have a country that can be told blatant lies – easily checkable, blatant lies – and I’m not talking about the covert workings of the CIA. When we have a terrorist attack, on September 11, 2001 with 19 men – 15 of them are Saudis – and five minutes later the whole country thinks they’re from Iraq – how can you have faith in the public? This is an easily checkable fact. The whole country is like the O.J. Simpson jurors.
I might take from the current political chaos a desire to somehow reflect its essential qualities in a story – the blatant lies that get accepted with repetition; the way mass media seems to be agitating people en masse; the way, particularly, that a relatively lucky and affluent and privileged population can be undone by a certain spoiled quality; that feeling when two decent people violently disagree, because they are arguing from two non-intersecting data sets – well, the list goes on.