It started with fake news, but now any unpalatable fact is fair game for the ‘thought incinerator’
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” Mark Twain is said to have warned. In this era of social media, let’s make that all the way round the world while the truth is still looking for its socks.
Every day, including in the present Brexit chaos, we witness a phenomenon that subverts the truth yet remains nameless. Since naming things can sometimes help, I suggest we call the phenomenon a “thought incinerator”. The phrase may sound a bit Orwellian but then sometimes it feels like we are living in his 1984. Let me offer a definition and then give you an example. My definition of a thought incinerator is a phrase that public figures use to dismiss – out of hand and without any need for reflection – ideas they don’t like. The most obvious example I can give you is the phrase “fake news”.