Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin: between reality and deception

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The art of storytelling, whether fictional or true, has fascinated humanity for centuries. Narratives present in novels, film scripts, stories and various forms of expression have woven the complex fabric of our lives, becoming the joy of everyday conversation. Good stories have the magic of authentic looks, interconnected reflections and emotions that provide deep understanding. In his induction speech to the Colombian Academy of Languages, the writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez recently emphasized that the invention of the modern novel is a milestone not only in literary history, but in the triumph of fundamental values ​​in our society. One of those values ​​is the freedom to tell stories and the ability to read and hear them.

Our existence is full of stories, some even acquire the character of the sacred. Therefore, those who want to influence society often turn to stories as a powerful tool to spread messages. From brief stories in advertisements to subtle subliminal messages in movies, and of course, the political marketing machinery that produces ads, books, and arguments to convince people. However, in order not to fall into naivety, it is necessary to distinguish between fictional stories and real stories. The line between them becomes blurred when a false story is deliberately created for the purpose of deception and presented as true with the intention of gaining profit. Throughout history, many people have attempted to control communities by spreading stories to deceive, taking advantage of our attraction to true stories and our tendency to fill knowledge gaps with narratives about the unknown, when Our rational light goes out.

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This reflection emerges when two recent events widely reported by the media are considered. The first tells the fascinating story of Taylor Swift, who has a rumored romance with American football player Travis Kelce, who becomes the center of attention during the championship game. However, beyond the romance, a false story has emerged accusing them of participating in a secret deal to support President Biden’s political aspirations, fueling conspiracy theories about the so-called “deep state.” Giving air. This false story spreads dangerously among political opponents as truth, influencing communities and leading millions of people to believe in its veracity, creating outrage based on the lie.

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The second story involves Russian President Vladimir Putin, who presents his side of Russia’s history in an interview with Tucker Carlson. Putin wants to influence the internal politics of the United States by claiming authority over Ukraine and, thus, proposing negotiation mechanisms. Both baseless narratives are dangerous not only because of the false claims, but also because social media manipulators use them to create distorted versions that, presented as the truth, spread like prairie fire by the strong wind of technology. , and rapidly enter the minds of millions of people.

The question arises what is the rational antidote against the saturation of these false stories, misinformation and superficial content widely spread on the network. Experts suggest being more selective in the stories we consume, but this becomes difficult in a world where we are connected to the narratives that surround our conversations and sources of information. Something has to be done, as Ross Douthat points out in an article on the dilemma between Christianity and Faust’s sense of progress, before digital technology overwhelms us, before we disappear, merging with technology. Don’t get drowned, but get drowned roughly. In the embrace of the malicious stories of the virtual. And if this is dangerous in an environment of democratic freedom, it is even more dangerous in autocratic regimes, which always tend to impose the same perspective on history.

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Centuries ago, the Greeks created an amazing mythology that founded our civilization. Today, we immerse ourselves in the mythology of superficial fragmentation, which evil minds take advantage of to manipulate us. While the ancients believed that gods live among us, contemporary conspiracy theories seek to impose alternative realities and unique truths to satisfy extremist interests. This week’s stories of Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin exemplify the long struggle to distinguish between reality and fiction that threatens to blur the line between truth and manipulation.

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