In what is certain to become the most-edited page on Wikipedia since Pepe The Frog, “alternative facts” now has a home on the internet’s vast free encyclopedia. Helpfully noted as part of a series on “misinformation and disinformation,” the page, at present, begins with a careful recitation of the phrase’s origin story, in which White House press secretary and Dippin’ Dots hater Sean Spicer presented multiple outright lies during a press conference about the shitty turnout for Trump’s inauguration, then did not take any questions, a performance that stand-up comedian Kellyanne Conway described as merely presenting “alternative facts.” (We now know that both were acting on a direct mandate from the commander in Chief, who has been reported as spending his first week in office fuming about the low turnout and demanding his subordinates respond like this, despite advice to the contrary.)
The page is rapidly evolving, comparing the phrase to Orwell’s notion of “newspeak” and citing its paradigm-shattering invention as the reason for a skyrocket in sales of 1984. It is also extrapolated to apply to other outright lies from the Trump administration, beginning with Whitehouse.gov’s claim that crime has increased since 2008 when it has actually decreased. But given that the orders for these alternative facts came from the top, and that the internet is rapidly turning into a semantic battleground between racist trolls and anyone who is not them, it will surely be a continually evolving hub of controversy, newspeak, falsehoods, bullshit, and memes. This is not the last time they will ask us how many lights there are.