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JAUNDICE Robert Sheridan FawCawnahs Neal wrote:

"Facts are almost always untruthful, they seldom tell the story, they are often incorrect;..."

As a description of what are claimed to be facts, I thought that was good. Someone else said that facts are inconvenient because you cannot ignore them. If you tell a story that disregards the facts you're telling either lies or false stories.

Nevertheless, we have to tell the story to make sense of the world. Ever try to explain the Depression or WWII to one of your kids? Try doing that on the ride to school or the grocery store. Where do you begin, what do you include, and leave out, and not put them to sleep?

So story telling is the art of telling it as you think it is, knowing that you cannot ever, possibly, tell it all.

Seems to me that's one of the things we do here.

We tell it as we think it is. We don't include a lot of detail. We leave a lot out, because life is too short.

What we include, or leave out, and the conclusions we've drawn, have a way of describing us. Probably because what we include and leave out, and the way we describe things, are based on the conclusions we already brought to the subject before we did the telling.

If we're pessimistic, optimistic, worried, or hopeful, about something, it shows. Fans of biography find that the story often tells more about what the era of the writer felt important than the subject.

The political candidates (we're in a presidential race, yawn) are great at telling part of the story. George Dubya the other nite, in a great, rousing speech accepting his nomination, featured some great zingers about Gore ("the only thing he offers is fear itself," "come to think of it he wuz there at the birth of the internet"). Then he promised "change." But he was careful not to spell out exactly what changes he meant.

That he leaves to our imaginations, knowing that if we like him, our imaginations will fill in the blanks, favorably to him.

I've read that the Russians who loved Stalin, as so many did, on hearing of the summary executions of thousands and millions, reacted that Stalin must not have known. Either that or they must have deserved it. Stalin's loyal followers cannot believe he was responsible.

They had Stalin built up as their Good Savior who could do no wrong. We have a tendency to do that with leaders.

At any rate, both of our candidates are going to tell us stories between now and November. Then they'll tell us slightly different stories after the swearing-in, in when, January.

They're gonna tell us what they think we wanna hear, based on polls, focus groups, and gut instinct bred of familiarity. And we're gonna fill in the blanks with what we wanna believe.

And that's what makes the world go around.


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