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World Press Photo and Word of the Year: Grief and Truthiness

In the 2006 World Press Photo competition, Todd Heisler of the Rocky Mountain News won first place for "People In The News: Stories" with his essay "Final Salute," about a group of Marines who deal with the families of Colorado Marines killed in action. The work also won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, writes BAGnewsNotes and comments on one of the pictures:
Katherine Cathey, pregnant with their unborn son, rubs her belly against the coffin. Of all the photographs in the group, this is the most searing; it's as impossible to forget as it is to imagine. Of all the memories, the sense of touch seems to be the first to fade, and here is the sense of a last touch. It cuts deeply as love, birth and death merge until our heads spin.
The 19 pages long feature is available in the Rocky Mountain News (pdf, 10 MB).
National Geographic has a feature about "Iraq War Medicine" with photos by acclaimed war photographer James Nachtwey.

"Truthiness" best sums up 2006, according to an online survey by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, reports CNN. "Truthiness" was credited to Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, who defined it as "truth that comes from the gut, not books." More in the Atlantic Review post about Bullshit and Truthiness. The American Dialect Society already voted "Truthiness" as word of the year 2005. The German word of the year has not been announced yet. Last year it was "Bundeskanzlerin," i.e. the female version of "federal chancellor."
Endnote: Some will see a connection between Truthiness and the Iraq war. To be clear: Liberals are just as guilty of practicing truthiness as conservatives.


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Don S on :

'Truthiness' should be properly counted as the word of the decade, not merely of 2006. And it would seem that comedian Colbert uses the concept himself a good deal - not that he would label what he does in such a way. But in implying that it's a particuarly Republican thing he is himself indulging in 'truthiness'. I think the events after the 2000 election provide an excellent example of 'truthiness'. The bare facts are that the election ended in a virtual tie. But many Democrats claimed that Gore's victory in the national popular vote elected him - even though the national popular vote total is a concept with no legal meaning in the US (nor any meaning in the UK, Germany, Ireland, or many other demoracies). Claiming that it does is a rampant display of 'truthiness'. Another display of truthiness is more common in Europe - the claim that the US is in violation of portions of the UN Charter over the invasion of Iraq - and even of Afghanistan. But the fact of the matter is that those portions of the UN Charter have been what International law have been in International Law what is termed a 'Dead Letter' since 1950 or so. A Dead Letter is a treaty which has been rendered invalid by repeated violations of it's terms. Therefore to state that the US is in violation of a treaty which qualifies as the deadest of Dead Letters quaklifies as 'truthiness' - a belief that a dead treaty can be resurrected and served upon one signatory selectively because natural justice demands it or some such rationale. Absurd - and the quintessence of truthiness.

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