The other evening I attended a talk about Goebbels and Spin-doctors. Though the speaker gave a prominent disclaimer about any comparison between the various contemporary Labour politicians he mentioned and the Nazi propaganda minister, it was tempting to point out that it was, perhaps, a little late. It’s rather like calling someone a miserable cretin of a parasite at a heated public meeting and immediately apologising unreservedly – the apology may appear fulsome, but the comment still lingers. That aside, the key questions that popped into my head were: how sceptical should the general public be of what our leaders (or anyone in authority) tells us, and isn’t it a sad reflection on the human condition that those who have control feel that the only way to continue in that position is to manipulate the truth?
Through my own experiences I know of one occasion when a D-Notice must have been invoked; an exhibit in the British Museum which distorts the truth of how the artefact was discovered; and can point to the editorial changes in a television programme, in which I took part, that were made to construct an untrue narrative that the director wished to portray.
Isn’t it interesting how we say we seek the truth, yet readily accept the lies? I, for one, do not believe in the great conspiracies about 9/11, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future, it were to come to light that someone in the Bush administration knew an attack was imminent and did nothing about it, nor if were found that United Airlines Flight 93 had been shot down, rather that as a result of any action by the passengers. I could handle that truth. But if it is, then it will be long time coming before it will surface.
Which leads onto my next book …
Once again, I am going to give a flavour of my thought processes as I go from idea, to outline, to first draft, and the first consideration is this: how much of a message about the importance of Truth do I want to include? Too much Message gets in the way of a good story, so the problem will be how to conceal it. (The irony of this is not lost on me, in fact, it will give the novel extra layers.) The story will include Goebbels and I am tempted to make it a false narrative … indeed, having just written that, I have decided that that is what I shall do: I shall construct a history. If the bastards can mislead us about why we go to war these days, then I sure as hell can do the same with fiction.
Watch this space …
Apropos of nothing: I discovered another golf-ball in my garden today. This makes the third(?) in three years. I do not live near a golf course. Either someone has devised a wonderful psychological practical joke, or someone’s back garden golfing practice is not up to par.