On Sun, 14 May 2017 12:04:34 -0400, Tony Cooper
Post by Tony Cooper
At one time we used "the appearance of" to describe how things look.
Today, it seems to be "the optics".
Watching "Meet the Press" this morning, the word "optics" was used by
the host (Chuck Todd) and several panel members. The usage doesn't
particularly bother me, but it does seem buzzwordy.
I noticed it getting a lot of use throughout the last campaigns, so,
it has been a year or two. [Google-ngram is swamped by things
related to optical devices.]
The buzzword I've noticed coming on lately is "narrative."
I liked the word, previously, for its use in describing how
science works, through the development of a narrative by
a research program. A single "discovery" is hard to use if it
does not fit with some theory. Then political advisors started
using the word as a sort of extended version of "spin" -- not
just a single deed, but part of a whole story.
About a year ago, I was impressed - for his knowing the jargon -
when then-governor Pence used the word when questioned about
why he had signed a state law to legalize bigotry against gays.
He said something like, "We had hoped to establish a different
It seems to me that "narrative" should help to distinguish
between two types of "fake news" -- the invented fact, as
opposed to the invented or totally unsupported story. Now,
I suppose that "support" means, partly, that you can't think
of any other explanation, as opposed to being one story that
might exist among many.
When Trump complains about the media's "fake news about
Russia", there are numerous /facts/ on hand; the problem, to
him, is that the press is "spinning" a "false narrative." - In fact,
I can imagine an alternate narrative, which no one has mentioned...
that the Russian contacts, yes, are not accidental, but represent an
attempt by the Russians to "groom" some political contacts. And so on.
(Lying about all the contacts and payments is a bit more awkward,
but falls under "avoiding unpleasantness." Unfortunately for Trump's
allies, the refuted-denials do spread suspicion.)
On the other hand, when Trump spread Birtherism, that was
false-narrative with no facts. Trump on Hillary is distorted and
fake-fact, supporting false narrative.
Trump on Cruz's father was /dubious/ fact in support of false
narrative, which Trump tried to validate by calling The National
Inquirer a newspaper that should be believed.