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I end up thinking a lot when I'm laid low by a cold, then bronchitis, especially at a time when the old anemia kicks up (my DNA isn't the only reason I'm pale). I don't always remember much of it, but I do think.

I recall there was some worry about cleaning the house and finally planting several things I hadn't had a chance to, but I've slept since then. Not a lot, but some. And I'm fairly sure that at some point I mused about the Slap-o-Matic again, as well as some contraption to control all the wild temperature swings we've had lately which have contributed mightily to my illness and that of others. No doubt those thoughts were brilliant, but they're gone now.

Unfortunately, I vividly remember the earworms, and rarely the good ones like "Bohemian Rhapsody." Instead it's "Mairzy Doats," "Get Down Tonight," "The Final Countdown," and other annoying tunes. While they're amusing the first time, not so much when they're keeping you awake with the 483rd repeat.

But what I never forget, no matter how sick I am, is how depressing it is that some people still steadfastly refuse to accept actual reality ... you know, things that really happened, instead preferring to believe what others say happened as long as those others' politics lean the same way theirs do.

They'll never believe that Barack Obama didn't utter "fundamental transformation," a phrase instead used by pundits to sum up and take away the context of his statement in a 2008 campaign speech shortly before the election that the electorate was "five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America. In five days, you can turn the page on policies that put greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street. In five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, and create new jobs, and grow this economy, so that everyone has a chance to succeed, not just the CEO, but the secretary and janitor, not just the factory owner, but the men and women on the factory floor."

But no, I'll continue to get letters and columns attributing "fundamental transformation" to him, and I'll keep taking the quotation marks away because he didn't say it.

Some people will continue to believe that Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house, forgetting that Tina Fey said that while playing Palin (rather brilliantly, I'd say) on Saturday Night Live ... you know, that show that since its beginning in the mid-1970s has spoofed every sitting president and many other prominent figures from both parties (Dana Carvey's Bush Senior and Phil Hartman's Bill Clinton at McDonald's were favorites of mine). Most people, though, know the difference between satire/parody and news, and know that comedy sketches aren't reality.

Others will continue to believe that Donald Trump said this about running for president (and send out that blasted meme): "If I were to run, I'd run as a Republican. They're the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they'd still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific." There's no record of him having said it, and People magazine, often noted as the source, didn't interview him in the year cited (1998).

What has been happening lately has reminded me of 1984, and I'm not a fan of George Orwell's fiction (his essays on journalism and the English language, though ...). People are being told that what they're seeing and hearing isn't what's happening, very similar to the dystopian nightmare's: "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."

We had enough problems already with people sticking to their bubbles and consuming information only from sources with which they agree, but now we have people denying something they witnessed with their own eyes and heard with their own ears as it was happening. No more are we letting ourselves simply record and process these things with our own minds; now we watch, then wait for someone to tell us how we feel about what they said happened, regardless of reality, and no one we disagree with will ever be able to sway us from our beliefs. Raw videotape? Live feeds? Fact-checking? Bah!

Maybe it's not just the anemia making me so tired.

There was one other thing that hit me last week while I was ill--the words we Southerners use when we're trying not to cuss, which is why I've asked for your input. Next week I plan to reveal some of the best submissions. There have been some doozies so far.

I still remember my youngest brother getting in trouble for inadvertently teaching his toddler son a certain four-letter word. Had he said "Sugar honey iced tea" instead (gee, thanks, Madagascar), maybe his then-wife would have laughed.

You still have time to tell me what issues from your mouth after slamming your thumb in a door, with a hammer, etc., when you can't let loose a stream of profanity. Let me know at the email address below, or in the comments on my blog or on this newspaper's website.


Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at Email her at

Editorial on 02/20/2019

Print Headline: BRENDA LOOPER: Is this real life?


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