Confused by the blizzard of data all around us? Having trouble telling what’s true and what’s not? Check this ready reference guide to recognizing the truth, depending on what you’re viewing/reading at the time:
In a sitcom with a voice-over narrator: stated by the narrator at the end of the episode. (Warning: if the narrator’s name is JD, the truth in question may be stated in unusually peculiar metaphors. If the narrator’s name is Earl, the truth will sound dumbed-down, but usually be deeper.)
In a horror movie: the good advice or common sense ignored by the protagonist/s. Sometimes this truth is implicit, e.g. ‘never perform scientific experiments in which you are the test subject’
In a work by Neil Gaiman: stated portentiously, pretentiously, or both, but usually also with wit and charm.
In a work by Robert Anton Wilson: disguised as a paradox, a koan or a joke. (Warning: not all jokes in Wilson’s works are truths.)
In a work by Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis: disguised as the rantings of a drug-crazed or otherwise unreliable narrator
In a work by Aaron Sorkin: disguised as naivest idealism, bitterest cynicism, or both at once.
In pornographic video: directly proportional to the trueness of breasts, on a scale ranging from very low to infinitisimal.
On cable news networks: directly proportional to the degree of disagreement with Fox News.
In a work by John Stewart: the level of truth in any statement is directly proportional the level of either incredulity or humility with which Stewart states it.
In a work by Stephen Colbert: replaced by Truthiness
In a DC Comic: stated by either Superman or Batman. Where they disagree, the truth lies with whichever one gets the last word.
In a Marvel Comic: stated by Captain America, but only if the role of Cap is currently being played by Steve Rogers. Otherwise, stated by either Spider-Man, Wolverine or Luke Cage, especially if it is the latter two in agreement.
In Greek Myth: stated by Cassandra, but never believed.
In Norse Myth: stated by Heimdall, Odin or Loki. n.b. the latter two are also notorious liars, so although they may be telling the truth, you probably won’t be sure about it until later, or in extreme cases, after Ragnarok.
In any incarnation of Star Trek: preceded by the words “Captain’s Log”, although occasionally it will be someone else’s log.
In Twin Peaks: stated by the log. Yes, really.