I’ve been getting a lot of visits to my speech “Don’t Believe Everything You Read,” possibly because of all the talk about fake news. (You may also want to see my post “Anatomy of a hoax” for more information.) The real problem with fake news is that it makes us distrustful of any news source. It used to be clear which sources can be relied upon and which ones can’t. It’s harder now when questionable content shows up on what are considered credible news sources. Usually, we can depend on critical thinking and further research to sift through what is factual and what isn’t. But another aspect of fake news makes it hard for us to do even that.
Every hostile tweet. Every head-scratching cabinet nomination. Every missed intelligence briefing. But every sense that this is the new reality we’re heading towards. We can’t depend on a recount or the Electoral College to change the outcome. There are no do-overs or returns and exchanges with a receipt. We can’t Kübler-Ross out of this one. We knew that this has been brewing for a long time. It was coming. The pendulum has swung. This is it.
So what do we do? We create.
This past year was frustrating, exasperating, heartbreaking, and just plain aching. It was a challenging year for our family and many people I know. However, there is one person (and only one) who had a wonderful year in 2016. You know who it is. He might not think it was so great after January 20. (We sure won’t.) But he will be remembered as the person we all talked about this year.
I won NaNoWriMo 2016. My prize is the first 50,000 words of an unfinished first draft. It is very difficult to write a novel in 30 days, and 50,000 words doesn’t qualify as a full-length novel. So, what exactly do you win when you win NaNoWriMo?
If there was ever a year we needed Thanksgiving, it’s this one.
This Thanksgiving does not call for platitudes about how we should be grateful for what we have. Gratitude demands something more. If we are thankful for something, we have to fight for it.