This note began with wondering about “alternative facts”. Before this phrase came to define a political movement, there was a movement called anti-vaccine. Those holding such a position were informally named anti-vaxers. With “fact” and “vax” being a near rhyme, I began thinking about alternative facts as anti-facts and those who hold them as anti-factsers.

Facts and anti-facts claim polar opposite universes. Without a starting point in “fact”, there is no anti-fact. Dictionary definitions begin with “something that has actual existence.” “Fact” appears to come from the Latin and references an act, a performance, a bringing forth of something tangible, a deed….

An “anti-fact” is based on an idealized reality disconnected from the one our bodies are in. It is not a movement toward such an ideal, simply a statement that that which is not, is actually present. It is a protective screen from difficult decisions. By extension, it is not planned obsolescence (which is an actual thing) but a hodge-podge of incompetence. To modify an aphorism, those who can’t handle the messiness of reality, lie about easy fixes.

I expect there is a correlation between fact and future (a “facture”?), even though one is past and present while the other is, well, future. Alternative facts only have an ever-changing present where anti-facts cycle into their opposite at a moment’s notice because coherence only gets in their way.

Wouldn’t you know it, there is an actual word “facture”. It is a word from the arts that identifies how something is made (such as the fashioning of metal). This making or doing has the same nature as a fact. Rather than speak of a completed deed or form, it focuses on the process leading to a form that has a life of its own, not a mirage of an anti-(anything).

What we do during this quarantine (how we facture) will lead to the facts we will have to deal with afterward and for generations to come. May you facture well.

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