Monday, November 5, 2012

Reality distortion fields

There are reality distortion fields, and there are reality distortion fields. The term “reality distortion field” (RDF) is associated of course with Steve Jobs, who was able to convince Apple employees that they could accomplish difficult or seemingly impossible tasks — deadlines and the limits of technology be damned. Such feats are hardly limited to charismatic executive types. Any teacher who gives students the sense that they are smarter than they believe, that they can do more than they suspect, has a good RDF at work. Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign mantra “Yes, we can” captures what’s involved: a belief that success is possible despite long odds. A good RDF reshapes one’s sense of what is possible.

Then there is the other kind of RDF, the kind that distorts matters of fact and history. Such fields were in force all through the 2008 presidential campaign, and they have been in force ever since, turning a candidate and president into a non-citizen, a secret              (you can fill in the blank, in several ways), turning healthcare reform into communism and death panels and theft from Medicare. This year’s presidential campaign has a challenger who has trained an RDF on his own record, obscuring or simply denying positions he has taken not just in recent years but in recent months, in this very campaign.

Distortions so blatant, so cynical, suggest that such a candidate and his advisors must see American voters as credulous fools, ready to believe one thing after another after another. I think though that the majority of American voters are smarter than that. Tomorrow we will find out.

Related posts
George Orwell on historical truth
George Orwell on totalitarian history
Stepping in it

comments: 1

Whit said...

A narrative is being written before the outcome.