The new post-truth normal is bullshit


This just in: Federal judge dismisses Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump

“The Court agrees with Mr. Trump’s argument because the tweet in question constitutes ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States. The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement,” Otero wrote.

You know, there’s a reason I have less and less to say about politics, but now and again something comes up and I just have to at least point it out. I don’t give two flips what the details are in the case. The logic of how this comes about is what gets me.

She makes a claim. She has her own obligation to provide the evidence for the claim before the body with jurisdiction over it. I don’t care about the truth value of the claim. That’s just the plain ol’ mechanics of how that works, right?

Now he makes a claim. However one wants to mangle the words in his defense, the clear meaning to be taken from the claim is that if the claim is true, it must also be true that she’s a liar, and possibly a criminal one at that.

Does the defamation suit have merit? I guess it depends on what defame means, doesn’t it? Not what we want it to mean. It either means something, or it does not. I think “calling a person a liar in public is defamatory” is an easy argument to make, but you know, that also doesn’t matter.

What matters here is the reason for which the case was dismissed. It comes down to the greater interpretative sophistication of some asshole in a robe who has decided that “rhetorical hyperbole” is the new get out of jail free card. Once you’re in the limelight, especially in the world of politics where truth should be the goal, words now mean absolutely fucking nothing.

The dam is breaking. Now would be a great time for anyone paying attention to start insisting that words mean something again. Where do we draw the line? We gave up on truth in politics so long ago that we don’t hold nearly enough people in office accountable to it. It’s just the way things are done! I reject that entirely. Rooting for liars because our liar is better than their liar for reasons just keeps things exactly as fucked up as they are, and it’s getting worse.

What next? Bajillionty Corp sells you a new useless thing on the basis of some wild-ass claim, and you give them your hard-earned money, and they give you a thing exactly not as described, you think you should get your money back? Words better mean something. Oh, ads are just “rhetorical hyperbole.” They’re just the way advertising is done now. What a shock.

Hell, in what area of your life do you want words to lose their meaning?

Let’s call this what it is. The new legal standard in political speech, and soon to escape into the wild, is that bullshit is “rhetorical hyperbole.”

See, a defamatory not-bullshit statement might still be defamatory, but if the statement is both defamatory AND bullshit, well, that’s okay, then.

This is the new normal, and this is bullshit. Oh, did I call a federal judge an asshole in a robe? I’m sorry. That was just rhetorical hyperbole.

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