Five years ago today, Stephen Colbert hosted the very first ‘Colbert Report’, and introduced a word that he put in the show to represent giving people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument – Truthiness. This word has gone from being a quick throw away word to being listed in the New Oxford American Dictionary with Colbert explicitly credited as the one bringing the word into the lexicon.
Ben Zimmer of the New York Times has done a profile of the word Truthiness, including both the etymology of the word as well as some new perspectives on the influence of the word in our current political climate. When speaking with Colbert, Zimmer also brought new perspective on the naming of the Sanity/Fear event in DC:
Colbert, for his part, said that he’s amazed at how far truthiness has come. But as others have spread the word, he hasn’t felt the need to use it much himself. After Glenn Beck held a “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, Colbert’s fans clamored for their own “Restoring Truthiness” event; Colbert has chosen instead to lead a “March to Keep Fear Alive” in Washington on Oct. 30. Truthiness, Colbert pointed out, is in no need of restoring, since it continues to define those who appeal to raw feelings at the expense of facts. “I doubt that many people in American politics are acting on the facts,” he observed ruefully. “Everybody on both sides is acting on the things that move them emotionally the most.”
So today, I give a Tip of the Hat to the word Truthiness, and to the longevity of the best show on television today, the ‘Colbert Report’ – cheers!
Tip of the Hat to Karenatasha for the NY Times link!