Do you remember that concise proclamation from July 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a right nationwide? That was one of the reasons why the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum (above the coin-op laundromat on Dickinson Boulevard) chose “love” as the 2015 Word of the Year. Our rationale and our complete list of the 2015 Words of the Year are HERE.
Now the 2016 Word of the Year season has begun with the OED’s announcement that “post-truth” is their Word of the Year.
The OED’s rationale for the pick is HERE.
Of course the previous OED Word of the Year was the tears-of-joy emoji.
Let that sink in for just a minute: the 2015 OED WotY was the tears-of-joy emoji. Our 2015 WotY was love. We have just one question: What. The hell. Happened? What has trumped all the joy?
Okay, so we asked two questions, and yes, we know what happened – and we know that you know too. We will say, though, that the dramatic swing (lurch?) of the pendulum to the right – the very move that prompted the OED to pick “post-truth” as their Word of the Year -- reminded us of the 2005 Word of the Year selected by the American Dialect Society: “truthiness.” (Information is HERE.)
“Truthiness”: What one wishes to be the truth regardless of the facts.
Hmmm…what might “truthiness” and “post-truth” have in common? (Think “GOP.”) (And just by the way, we tend to think a more fitting term for post-truth in 2016 would be neo-truth or alt-truth.)
Interestingly enough, “post-truth,” this year’s WotY choice by the OED, dates back to the late-1800s. The term was coined by Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed –at her request), and it first appeared in his now-classic poem “Truth is a fleeting thing” (below on the left). His poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem “Opinion is a flitting thing” (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Truth is a fleeting thing,
Post-Truth, passes the One –
If now we cannot own the Facts –
Reality we’ll shun –
By Emily Dickinson:
Opinion is a flitting thing,
But Truth, outlasts the Sun –
If then we cannot own them both –
Possess the oldest one –