Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010

Colbert Coins Truthiness

He's spoken truthiness to power since he popularized the word on the pilot episode of The Colbert Report. "I don't trust books," he says in the first installment of The Word on Oct. 17, 2005. "They're all fact, no heart." Indeed, Colbert's version of truthiness comes from the gut, which he says has more nerve endings than the brain (he looked it up). He specifically points to the methods of President George W. Bush ("The Decider") by analyzing his decisions on appointing the largely unqualified Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and in invading Iraq. ("Doesn't taking Saddam out feel like the right thing?" Colbert asks.) But while he pokes fun, Colbert hits on a much more fundamental question of what is and isn't truth today. Facts can often feel lost in a 24/7 information cycle that fosters extreme voices on all sides. And those voices often induce fear. But as Colbert knows, isn't it important to keep that fear alive?