Wednesday 3 January 2024

Facts are Sacred

Tania Branigan, Red Memory: The Afterlives of China's Cultural Revolution (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2023), p. 194:

Facts are – or should be – sacred, to journalists and historians at least, but facts are not the whole truth; which we select and how we understand and weave them together – that matters too. We think of remembering as retrieval, but in fact it is an act of creation. Our memories grow and change as we do, and truths can harden into something unreal if we repeat them often enough, either because we do so unthinkingly or because we are too careful with them. The consistency of a narrator reassures but can itself be a kind of lie.