Going Down The Truth Hole!
So, your manic scribe was digging for a good word to kick off the new year, and found it deep within a pulp novel. (Only the finest resources for you, dear reader, yes indeed.)
The word that plucked my resonant chord last night was a very vivacious V-word: verisimilitude.
Ah, yes, you’re saying to yourself. Verisimilitude. Um…what does it mean?
Verisimilitude is the appearance of being true or real.
The word is birthed to us by that maternity ward of so much English vocabulary, Latin.
Specifically, we’re talking 17th century Latin in the nascent form of verisimilitudo (which, admit it, is more fun to say), a word derived from the parental units of verisimilis, meaning “probable,” in turn born of veri, a genitive form of verus, meaning “true,” and the word similis, meaning “like.”
Dude, it’s true like!
And if you’re anything like me, you’re getting sidetracked by the word “genitive,” which is an adjective indicating close associations between nouns and pronouns, and now knowing about those close associations, one is forced to speculate whether they’re standing at least six feet apart and wearing masks.
But I digress.
“Verisimilitude” is a good word hampered by an unfortunate gymnastic quality that makes it unwieldy.
As much as one might like to trot it around in 2022, it’s going to stumble and stagger. It doesn’t just roll off the tongue.
Now, in the realm of science philosophy, a synonym for “verisimilitude” is “truthlikeness.”
That has no jazz hands whatsoever.
Plus, it sounds made up. If we’re going to sound made up, let’s go for a truly made up word like “Truthiness.”
Just one problem.
The word truthiness is not a synonym for verisimilitude. It’s an antonym. It’s the appearance of truth with nothing to back it up.
The word was coined by comedian Stephen Colbert in the age of The Colbert Report.
And how ironic is it that the news satire show that became America’s most trusted news source gives the culture a truthy word to describe fake truth?
These days, problem of truthiness abounds.
Yesterday, I was listening to a news story about a family split between verisimilitude and truthiness.
A young man who’s a professional journalist is required to source verifiable facts in his reporting.
He also can’t persuade his mother that his verifiable facts are truth that counter the bald-faced BS of her favored if unverifiable political truthiness.
She in turn pities her son’s belief in facts over fiction.
What’s a mother’s son to do?
If a dark age is characterized by belief in unsubstantiated claims and debates about the number of angels cavorting about the dual pinheads of government and science, well goodbye year of living in truthiness!
Anyway, circling back to our original challenge…
Verisimilitude seems like a good place to start in 2022, even if the word doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.
For that quality, maybe we should look to its harder edged cousin, “Veracity.”
Since veracity regards accuracy and conformity to facts, it seems like a good place to settle when looking forward to a new year with hopes of shining intellectual light on the darkened lunacy that abounded in 2021.
A return to civility predicated on truth is my hope for the year ahead.
But just in case, I still have last years’ brickbat helmet standing by…
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
LIGHTNING BRANDING ON AMAZON
The Kindle edition of our new book is now available at Amazon for the REDUCED bargain price of $9.95
For details about our new Lightning Branding courses, both do-it-yourself and we-do-it-with-you editions, click here. (There's even a video of us!)
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.