Throughout this unit, we’ve examined the nature of post-truthness: what defines it, where it comes/came from, and even how we might respond to it. But, of course, this is a phenomenon that you are living through, not just one that you’re reading about. With that being the case, in your essay for this unit, please draw on your own lived expertise, as well as at least two course texts (and any other outside resources that you’d like to employ). You have two options, listed below. In either instance, write an essay of 4-5 pages.
1. Investigate a recent incident from the news—whether from politics, science, sports, or any other relevant domain—that seems to evidence some of the key tendencies of post-truth- ness as outlined by our course texts. In the course of your essay, provide your own definition of post-truth (either by synthesizing some definitions we’ve encountered, defending one perspective as being preferable, or contributing your own). Once you’ve done that, explain how the phenomenon or incident in question seems to reflect life in a post-truth society: identify which commonly named aspects of post-truthness seem to pertain in this instance and which, if any, are absent. In the course of the essay, be sure to identify which person/group(s) seem(s) to be acting correctly in this situation and which person/group(s) seem(s) to be acting incorrectly. Justify your judgments. Finally, explain what you believe to be the best/most appropriate response to this scenario: how should those who are acting correctly respond/act. Rather than simply resigning themselves to passivity or concluding that their opponents will remain forever ignorant, what might they do instead?
2. Throughout the course of the unit, we’ve examined certain texts (particularly those by McIntyre and McComiskey) that suggest that the present historical moment is uniquely post-truth. We’ve also discussed texts/authors that might suggest a contrary position (i.e., that the present historical moment is not unique in this regard). If you elect to pursue this option, choose a side in this debate and defend your position. Of course, you should feel free to argue nuanced positions—partially accepting and partially rejecting each position. That is, you might argue that the present moment is unique in certain respects (with regards to post-truth) but not in others. Whatever your viewpoint may be, argue it forcefully and logically.