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Monday, December 11, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Truth, justice and … maybe not truth

October 16, 2023

It can be hard telling truth from fiction these days. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about it. Or do you?

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

What is truth? How can I tell if you’re lying?

On the same day not long ago while perusing what I thought was a reliable news source, I read articles about faltering online fact-checking and a dishonest dishonesty study.

Could any of that be true?

Am I lying to you about this right now?

Welcome to the new reality in which someone will tell you to doubt pretty much anything. Do you doubt it?

How does one navigate a fictional world?

Fortunately, I have advice for you. None of it is true, of course.

Or is it?

Choose your own adventure. Faced with multiple possible scenarios, choose the one you like the best and follow it wherever it leads.

Dithering will not help you. Neither will research, because whatever you find probably isn’t true.

So just pick a lane and stick to it. You’ll feel better.

Pet scan. Allow your cat free rein on your keyboard. See where it takes you.

Dudgeons and Dragoons. Take advantage of the many permutations of ornamental playing dice. Pick the prettiest ones or the ones you irrationally believe are lucky. Then follow their dictates.

If the character class you’ve chosen is chaotic evil, you can ignore the dice and do whatever you want.

Produce a podcast. Yes, I know everyone has a podcast, but yours will be better. You can say whatever you want and it will be true — for you. No one will care.

Do actual research. Record weather patterns. Visit underprivileged communities. Observe melting glaciers. Interview victims of war and oppression. Study scientific evidence.

Ok, no one’s doing that. At least feel guilty about not doing it.

Watch TV. Reality is probably overrated.

Quote of the week. If your client is the daughter of comic book legend Stan Lee, you can’t be blamed for getting a tad carried away.

This is from a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court: “In Stan Lee’s lifetime … he found himself amidst real life villains. Many who presented themselves as apparent allies and collaborators, turned out to be masked opportunists … .

“This lawsuit is about carrying out Stan Lee’s legacy — standing up to villains, in pursuit of truth and justice.”

If your mind immediately went to the phrase “and the American way,” you’re an old person like me and in the wrong superhero universe.

Now picture Stan Lee having to fight off guys in masks.

I guess it might have happened. This explains where he got all his story ideas.

I think the masked men he was fighting were Skrulls.

Categories / Op-Ed

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