by Gilles Castelnau
Translation Louise Thunin
When a journalist told Donald Trump that he hadn’t garnered more votes than other presidents, and that his euphoric declaration was fake news, neither he nor his Midwestern electorate were the least bit shaken in their conviction that « America is great. » Because the image conjured by his fake news item was truer, for them, than the figures reported by the press.
The people of Lancashire, who voted massively for Brexit, rejoiced at the thought of recovering the 350 million pounds sterling seized each week by the European Union for its Health Service. However, it was obviously not true that they would ever do so : those millions did not exist. But that fake news item symbolized their spirit of independence. Fake news manifests, for whomever repeats it, the reality of the alternative universe in which he wants to believe.
When Marine Le Pen scares the rural populations of Alsace and of the Cévennes Mountains, who have never set eyes on an immigrant, by describing the threat of a foreign invasion, and by offering them a happy life, she is drawing a picture of an imaginary world that seems real, because people so want to believe in it. In the days of the Soviet Union, the story goes that a Russian was complaining about the housing shortage, and a comrade replied to him : « You ought to read Pravda (Truth). »
But all happy, fanciful images are not to be done away with. Let’s not be
grumpy ! The Tarot reader I heard telling a teenage boy that he was going to meet a lovely girl wasn’t taking much of a risk of being wrong, and above all, she was opening up for him the perspective of a true picture of a potential loving relationship. When the prophet sees the wolf lying down with the lamb and when Jesus says that the meek shall inherit the earth, the world this opens up for us resembles fake news, indeed. But we can feel, when we hear these words, a creative dynamic rising up within us, one of faith, hope and love, completely different from the false declarations and the unengaging personalities of Mr.Trump, Mrs. May and Madame Le Pen. And despite the arguments of good, rational minds, we proclaim with conviction : « Christ is risen, truly he is risen ! »