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January 13, 2005

Peas In A Pod

From a Slate article on the Linguistic Society of America's Word of the Year.(lva)

It's its own opposite," said Bill Kretzschmar, editor of the Linguistic Atlas of America. "If it's reality-based, it's not real."

No wonder the "Proud Members of the Reality-Based Community" haven't had many things go their way politically lately.

Remember how cell phone voters were going to give the election to Kerry? Quite a few "reality-based" blogs bought into that. Then there are those "reality-based" astrology adherents. How long before "reality-based" becomes shorthand for "living in a self-created fiction?"

I.E. "faith-based?"

Posted by Bigwig at January 13, 2005 11:39 AM | TrackBack
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That's the thing about faith. It creates your reality, because you believe it. Therefore it is true, at least to you.

Faith is such a powerful thing, I've often wondered if what you believe when you die is the reality you'll experience after you're dead.

If any dead people are reading this, I'd appreciate your comments.

Posted by: rick at January 13, 2005 12:34 PM

Well, I for one firmly believe one's life is narrated in the hereafter

Posted by: Bigwig at January 13, 2005 02:26 PM

That last line deserves a big Ouch! I don't think it is possible for a shorter sentence to maul two disparate groups of people so savagely.

Posted by: Jim at January 13, 2005 02:28 PM

The thing I find amusing is they've adopted this "reality-based" moniker based on a quote that is obviously suspect since the reporter doesn't bother to write about until a year and half later and, from the context, it appears to be an off-hand comment rather than anything he recorded. In fact its odd enough in content that if it really was said at the time by an aide, you have to wonder why Suskind bothered to wait to so long to mention it.

I just don't buy the quote at all.

Posted by: Brian Carnell at January 13, 2005 05:02 PM

Interesting... reality-based obviously means it *isn't* reality (it's just 'almost reality')

Faith-based doesn't mean it *isn't* faith. Nor does being based on faith mean it isn't based on reality.

So it's kind of a non-sequitor, but an interesting juxtaposition nonetheless.

Besides, who doesn't want to think that their beliefs/preferences/opinions are "reality-based"? What other option is there? But I think the point of the post was in reference to television genre, not philosophical foundations.

Posted by: Bryan at January 13, 2005 05:08 PM

This has always seemed obvious to me. If I'm watching a movie "based-on-reality" then I know I'm watching something that is only half true.

Same with those "reality-based" blogs. Thanks for the heads up, I say to them.

Posted by: Ray Midge at January 13, 2005 05:11 PM

Bryan hits the nail on the head, at least as far as my whole take on the "reality-based community" when that became just another buzz phrase meaning "we're right and you're wrong." I'm sure you could find several Napoleans who feel they're belief is "reality based" as well. Not that I'm one of those who believe in no absolute truth, just that staking your claim on the accuracy and validity of your beliefs upon your personal assurance that they are accurate and valid never was a convincing argument for me.

Posted by: submandave at January 13, 2005 05:54 PM


you are spot on, buddy... this place is great!

Posted by: dead person at January 13, 2005 06:14 PM

I really like that reality-based astrology adherent... and the way he didn't bother to look at a larger-scale map and note the presence of the Malay Peninsula.
Doesn't seem to appreciate the sarcastic link from the Unabrewer, either.

Posted by: Eric Wilner at January 13, 2005 07:07 PM

Bravo, great catch. Priceless.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: TallDave at January 13, 2005 10:02 PM

To understand what it means to live in a reality based community, first you have to understand its' opposite. Those who live in an unreality fact free fantasyland believe that sadamn was involved in 9/11, that there are WMD's in Iraq and we have found them, things are going both fine and dandy in Iraq and the SCLM is afraid to report it (the same sycophantic media that cheerleaded us into this mess), that the media is actually liberal, that Fox news is actually fair or balanced, that there aren't more intentional lies on any hour of O'Rielly or Hannity than any sloppines by Rather, I could go on and on. Reality based simply means conforming to the rules of evidence, logic and reason. The fact that you found some faith-based freak who used the phrase means nothing. That you think it does is silly.

Posted by: Juan Gewanfri at January 14, 2005 03:12 AM

Saddam was certainly involved in supporting terrorism. Clinton, in 1998, pushed through a law stating the official position of the USA was that Saddam was threat. "Fine and dandy in Iraq" has never been the position of the pro-war folk: "better than under Saddam, with the prospect of MUCH better after elections" is more accurate (but 'reality based' liars prefer to base their Bush-hate on strawmen). That CBS has, and has had, a Liberal Bias is beyond reasonable doubt. But it's not a metaphysical certainty; one of the main Liberal Bias tricks is to avoid specifying the level of evidence.

Fox is more balanced and fair than BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, or CBS; or the NY Times or LA Times; define terms and measure.

But it's a value thing. Which is morally superior: Fighting Evil or accepting Peace (and genocide)?

I think Afghanistan is better off today than the UN involved Congo. I'm pretty sure Iraq will be better off in six months than Sudan.

Of course, I'm future-based. Based on what I want : A World Without Dictators.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 14, 2005 03:39 AM

I've been bugged by that ever since I saw the Slate piece, and I've decided that it's wrong.

Are carbon-based life forms not made largely of carbon?

Posted by: John Bragg at January 14, 2005 06:34 AM

Actually, "carbon-based lifeforms", meaning most life on Earth, are made largely of water, which is hydrogen and oxygen. Carbon isn't even in third place, IIRC.

Juan Gewanfri,

The use of the word "involved" seems to be intentionally vague, so as to mock people who believe Saddam was "involved" with terrorists (and even Al Qaeda - check any newspaper while Clinton was President for all the meetings they had) by implying they believe Saddam actually helped specifically and knowlingly with 9/11, which many people don't. Nice. Try using plain language.

We actually have found chemical weapons in Iraq - ask the 2 soldiers who were exposed to sarin gas as a result. There was a binary sarin artillery shell used as the explosives for an IED. It was found before it exploded but exploded shortly after. It was COMPLETELY UNMARKED compared to a normal artillery shell, and Iraq never declared (and we never knew they had) binary artillery shells of any sort. Luckily, that type of shell contains little explosives (relatively), or the soldiers in question would likely be dead. Also, luckily, binary shells are mixed by the spinning of the shell during flight, so most of the components didn't mix, or the soldiers in question would likely be dead. But binary sarin shells don't grow on trees. Using "evidence, logic and reason", which you seem to hold so high, is it even remotely reasonable to believe with certainty that it was a one-off? That is, is it not reasonable to think there are very likely more of those shells SOMEWHERE?

In short, you apparently dismiss the very "evidence, logic and reason" which you claim to live by.

Have a nice day.

Deoxy, the "faith-based" moron who just beat the tar out of you using "evidence, logic and reason"

Posted by: Deoxy at January 14, 2005 12:54 PM

For what it's worth, Deoxy, I have a source in the military-one in a position to know-who says they find chemical artillery shells in Iraq all the time, but for whatever reason neither the administration nor the media tends to report them.

Take it with as much or as little salt as you like. What's interesting to me is the question of what could possibly motivate the administration to keep such presumably friendly news on the q.t.?

Posted by: Bigwig at January 14, 2005 01:25 PM

Thanks for wishing me a nice day Deoxy, actually I had a great weekend. I hope you didn't think I was avoiding you.
Let me get this straight. The fact that a chemical weapon dud created back in the day when the sainted Ron Reagon (and probably you as well)were buddy buddy with Saddam is found, proves exactly what in your view? An ongoing WMD program? An imminent mushroom cloud over D.C.? Are you saying the war was fought to capture a 15 year old plus unexploded chemical weapon shell? Help me to understand. My ability to grasp the nuances of your wingnut post hoc rationalizations is very limited.
Lastly, and read this very slowly so even you can understand. THERE WAS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN SADDAM AND BIN LADEN. THEY ARE ENEMIES. ONE IS A SECULAR FASCIST AND THE OTHER IS AN ISLAMOTERRORIST REVOLUTIONARY. If Saddam had found any Al Quada operating in Iraq they would have gone straight to the firing squad after being tortured first of course. You see, he would have considered those fanatics who have an agenda of instituting Islamic states everywhere in the Middle East to be a threat to his regime. Come to think about it, Saddam might feel at home in your little non reality based community. Maybe that is why he named his gestapo "The Republican Guard". Just a thought.
Y'all have a nice day.

Posted by: Juan Gewanfri at January 17, 2005 11:24 AM
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