In today’s offering we further explore a topic that arose in Sunday’s Ask Ms. Crissie: the bizarre Belt Way galaxy. If you’d like a better understanding of Belt Way cosmology, and how it differs from the Truthy Way galaxy, and if you’ve had plenty of caffeine, join us for A Tale of Two Galaxies. (More)
A Tale of Two Galaxies
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way[.]”
So wrote Charles Dickens to begin A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens made sense of the contradictions in the concluding clause of the sentence: “in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” But I cut the quote early because it’s a good introduction to understanding the contradictions we see daily between what we experience here in the Truthy Way galaxy and the discourse emitted from the Belt Way galaxy.
A different spacetime.
As Kos noted yesterday, if you believe the pundits, the Republicans were the clear winners in the stimulus debate. The American people, however, see it very differently. The disconnect left even the always entertaining JeffLieber “most badly misconfused.”
But a near-complete disconnect between political discourse and political reality is hardly a one-time event. Indeed it’s become a confusing norm, and that’s because the political class live in a different spacetime. We think they inhabit our galaxy because, well, they look mostly like us and they seem to use some of the same words we use. In fact, they live in an entirely different galaxy – the Belt Way – which bears only the slimmest resemblance to our own. The basic mathematical structure of the Belt Way galaxy is entirely different, and that yields these bizarre anomalies we misinterpret as “lies.”
Here in the Truthy Way galaxy, time is linear, flowing from past to future. We often represent this in graphic form using timelines:
But in the Belt Way galaxy, time is cyclical, flowing round and round. Physicists at the University of Atrios, using data gathered from the Rubble Telescope in geosynchronous orbit over Iraq, have confirmed that the length of this cycle is the Friedman Unit (F.U.). Subsequent study showed that the six-month period of the F.U. is not arbitrary, but instead has an egological basis: it is the precise period of time required to invent a new rationale for repeating the same claim.
Similarly, here in the Truthy Way galaxy, spacetime is warped by mass. Albert Einstein proved this nearly a century ago in his theory of general relativity, and we often represent that warping with graphics like this one:
But in the Belt Way galaxy, spacetime is warped by ego. This discovery, for which researchers at Blogistan Polytechnic Institute won the Noduh Prize, led to the egological basis of the Friedman Unit. And because there is a near black hole-inducing concentration of ego in the Belt Way galaxy, spacetime looks more like this:
While this seems perplexing, it actually makes navigation much easier in the Belt Way galaxy, thus even the least intelligent need never feel lost. It’s rather like climbing the stairs in an Escher drawing:
The BPI researchers were able to prove that it takes precisely one F.U. to climb that complete circuit, during which time the climber’s ego will perceive constant upward progress, while we here in Truthy Way will see no progress at all.
Their best of times, our worst of times.
It is this egological warping of spacetime in the Belt Way galaxy that enables its inhabitants to confidently proclaim things that seem patently untrue to we inhabitants of Truthy Way, such as:
George Bush: “Well, the jury is still out on evolution, you know.” (In Truthy Way, the evidence is overwhelming and the scientific consensus near universal.)
Robert Kagan: “Pentagon officials have leaked word that the Office of Management and Budget has ordered a 10 percent cut in defense spending for the coming fiscal year, giving Defense Secretary Robert Gates a substantially smaller budget than he requested.” (In Truthy Way, OMB proposed an 8% increase in defense spending.)
George Will: “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” (In Truthy Way, in February 2009 global sea ice covers 1.34 million fewer square kilometers than in February 1979, a loss of area equal to the area of California, Texas, and Oklahoma combined.)
John Boehner: “Tell me how spending $8 billion in [the stimulus] bill to have a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is going to help the construction worker in my district.” (In Truthy Way, no L.A. to Las Vegas line is included in the Federal Railroad Administration’s planned high speed rail corridors … but there is one in Boehner’s district.)
And let us never forget The Man Who Might Have Been:
A Tale of Two Galaxies.
So you see, they’re not really lying. They live in an entirely different galaxy, the Belt Way galaxy, where spacetime is so warped by ego that “scientific consensus” means “the jury is still out” on evolution,” where “more” means “less” in defense spending, where “less” means “more” in global sea ice, where “here” means “there” in planned high speed rail lines, and where “our greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression” means “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
So it makes perfect sense, in the Belt Way galaxy, to say Republicans were the clear winners in the stimulus debate. It’s true … there.
It’s only a lie out here.