After writing casually that I had a hard time separating fact from fiction, an internet chum who is a journalism prof and former LATimes reporter wrote back in the under140-character style that is popular these days, "Facts are overrated."
On the one hand, it may have been one of those intellectual bon mots that sounds good and requires no lengthy response to an earlier communication. On the other hand, there is something to be said for sniffing the fire hydrant: "Facts are overrated." Is this just another overrated fact, perhaps?
How many facts does anyone keep in this life's file box? Zillions is my guesstimate. Facts about geography, facts about love, facts about yo-yo's, facts about baloney, facts about high-speed driving, facts about politics and religion and space travel and shoe sizes and .... etc.
It is hard to look closely and find the dividing line between fact and fiction. It is hard to look closely and find the fact in facts. Facts are offered as steady-state items, as rocking chairs in which to rest, as premises from which other premises follow. Facts are facts from one moment to the next. Or are they? Isn't it our relying on them that gives them their force? And in fact, how reliable are they really?
Calling facts fiction is not quite right and yet calling them fiction isn't quite right either.
Offer the facts and what is it you have offered?
It's a curious business.