Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Narrator of the Year: Ben Trovato

Any time there was a cause in search of a narrative, Ben Trovato was there.
I first heard of Ben Trovato while reading a curious little volume of unusual word origins. A number of these supposed etymologies, most of the really colorful ones, were attributed to “Ben Trovato.” The name is taken from an old Italian saying: se non è vero, è ben trovato. Roughly translated: if it’s not true, it’s a good story. These were the kind of word origins that you really wanted to be true, but for which there was no real evidence. In contemporary parlance, they are “too good to check.”

I think you can begin to see why 2014 has been the year of Ben Trovato. It has been a year full of things that were non vero, but which had really good narratives. Or at least really convenient narratives.
Some of Ben's best work for 2014 (The entire list is much longer)
It may not actually be true that Michael Brown had his hands up and was saying “don’t shoot” when a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot him—the bulk of the eyewitness testimony and physical evidence indicates otherwise—but “hands up, don’t shoot” is still a great slogan because it’s such a good “metaphor” and captures a “larger truth.” Ben Trovato at work.
Just following up on  his work on Trayvon Martin in 2012 and 2013. His work on Eric Garner deserves a mention too. There was no "illegal choke hold."
. . . he spent some time hanging out with the son Barack Obama might have had, before swinging over to the First Lady’s office, where he prompted Michelle Obama to describe how an incident at a Target store shows that she still needs to fear being mistaken for the help because she’s black. Proof of America’s persistent racism. Sure, she told the same story a few years ago with a totally opposite meaning. But you’re missing the point. The point is that the new version of the story is well constructed to convey an important narrative. It has Ben Trovato’s fingerprints all over it.
Ben Trovato is already a legend in the field of climate science, and his latest work was the production of “pHraud,” in which climatologists were caught omitting 80 years of data in order to support a bogus claim that global warming is causing deadly acidification of the oceans. This was another Ben Trovato original. But his contributions to climate science are so vast that everyone takes them for granted now and they don’t get much attention any more.
Not too mention the now thoroughly discredited case of the UVA fraternity rape party, that "Jackie" seems to have cobbled together from bad romance novels, and Sabrina Eberly appears to have sought out the most outrageous story she could find  to indict men, fraternities, and the south. This one really ought to be on the list.

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