[-empyre-] Make Fake News Fake Again!

Talan Memmott memmotttalan at gmail.com
Mon Jun 12 13:14:21 AEST 2017

Some Notes on Journihilistic DisIntegrity

Truth is just so 20th Century; a has-been concept; dried out like beef
jerky; soft like marshmallow fluff or a baby’s butt. We don’t need truth
because we are capable of forming opinions; of producing deflective
rhetoric in support of whatever opinion we may hold, may believe. We
faithfully defend our opinions because we know better -- everyone else is
stupid after all; because we know the truth; we hold our opinions to be
truth because how could they be otherwise.

Donald Trump’s diatribes against a “dishonest media” are the moans of a
distressed sociopathic strongman. And, in reality he not attacking the
media for being “dishonest”; rather, he is attacking the media because its
reporting doesn’t follow his self indulgent world view -- with himself at
the center of not only the world, but the entire universe; because his
lofty opinion of himself is the only truth allowable. It’s tremendous, it’s
Huge! Everything else is fake news. Roll the video. We have proof. Teflon
Don has grabbed the world by the p_____ and won’t let go. Don’t even try to
pull him away -- he’ll throw the tantrum of the terrible twos...

Truthiness is something like “fruitiness” as the term relates to breakfast
cereals like Trix or Fruity Pebbles. There is nothing of “truth” in
truthiness… Truthiness is an extension of plausibility. It exists in the
same domain as the endless “perhaps, perhaps, perhaps” of Ancient Aliens.
As it extends plausibility toward the impossible through acrobatic leaps in
logic, truthiness smashes the verifiable with over-the-top speculation,
with outrageous -- sometimes prurient -- fiction. Think Pizzagate (

It is hard to find any truth or truthiness in the Pizzagate conspiracy,
which, through pure speculative fiction, connected the Democratic party to
human trafficking, satanic ritual, child pornography, and other profane
activities. The debunked conspiracy theory which began on 4chan spread
through social media, mostly on reddit by users mainly in Cyprus and
Vietnam, and on Twitter mainly by retweeting bots. Despite its lack of
plausibility -- the theories read more like a really bad espionage novel
than reality -- the story was picked up by fake news and real news
properties, entering mainstream consciousness.

To a certain extent, this fake news story deteriorates real journalism
through its cultural influence. Pizzagate had a clear intent, also, to
destroy the Democratic party by developing plausibility through
repeatability, by saturation in social media, and its conversion from fake
news to speculative journalism, or what we could call journullism. As this
story moved from 4chan, to reddit, to Twitter, to fake news outlets like
inforwars, to mainstream media (as it tried to debunk the theory), true
journalism begins to appear more and more nihilistic, desperate, and not
fully engaged in contemporary culture. In this regard, the fake news agenda
promoted through the Pizzagate conspiracy theory has less to do with its
obscene content than does with journihilistic disintegrity; the erosion of
truth beyond truthiness to debatable opinion.

In watching the post-inauguration balls, it was interesting to hear Donald
Trump claim that the attendance numbers at the inauguration and the
following parade were “tremendous.” By making this claim, Trump makes fake
news. He goes against the visible, photographic evidence. And, plenty of
people will believe Trump’s words over the photographic evidence, claiming
that the media is “unfair” and “dishonest.”  As this relates to
journullism, we may to consider “an eye for eye” and counter Trump’s
fictive claim of “tremendous” numbers with even more outrageous claims.

During the UnderAcademy course, Mark and I held a press conference at
which, as the founder and Provisional Provost of UnderAcademy College I
read the following statement:

“I am here to tell you that UnderAcademy’s support for fake news will
continue; that we believe fake news serves a vital function in our current
culture; is a valid form of communication and must not be confused with
mainstream media channels such as CNN, MSNBC, CBS, what have you.

The current administration has made multiple attempts to delegitimize fake
news by connecting it with real news. Fake news journullists will not
tolerate the confusion of journihilism with journalism. Any claims that CNN
is fake news denigrates fake news as much as it does real news. It is
dishonest and unfair. Furthermore; these comments demonstrate a lack of
understanding as to the values and ethics that determine both, and a
misunderstanding of terminology.  FAKE MEANS FAKE!!!

The continued use of “alternative facts” as a method of validating, and
invalidating communications by politicians and their spokesperson infringes
on the domain of true fake news journullists. True fake news, real fake
news is, in essence, is of course not apolitical; but, it isn’t political
either. It is apathetical.

Indeed, it is disingenuous to burden fake news with the fact of post-truth
culture, to build a wall around fake news, to limit its potential as satire
or conspiracy theory.

We already understand that we live in a volatile post-truth world, in which
fiction can be promoted as fact; in which fact can be dismissed as fiction.
The role of fake news, or real fake news is to examine the margins, to play
at the differences between the mainstream and the maelstrom. Journihilism
will persevere.

We will make fake news fake again!”

On Sun, Jun 11, 2017 at 10:07 PM, Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks Mark,
> What I think is so interesting is the fact that in order to write fake
> news you have to be able to discern between what is truth and what is not.
> It’s a matter of framing and contextualizing. Can you talk about the
> production of the link you’ve uploaded?  Thanks for sharing.  Also just
> wondering what kinds of students signed up for your course!  Renate
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
> On 6/11/17, 2:21 AM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of Mark Marino" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of markcmarino at gmail.com> wrote:
> >----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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