Inserting as many layers between the message and reality as possible

Some time ago I received a message that described a situation that was "based on a reality-based scenario."

Wow, how many layers away from reality can you get?

It wasn't a real scenario.

It wasn't a reality-based scenario.

It was based on a reality-based scenario.

Then again, I'm just adding to the problem. I'm writing a message about a situation based on a reality-based scenario...

Comments (14)
  1. David Walker says:

    Sounds like imitation pasteurized, processed, cheese food product substitute.

  2. And I’m commenting on a message about a situation based on a reality-based scenario…

    [ And I’m nitpicking a comment on a message … – Raymond^H^H^H^H^H^H^HMaurits ]

  3. ::Wendy:: says:

    if all realities are created from perceptions,  and many from social contructions,  is reality a reality in the first place that a scenario can even be based on.  Surely all realities are scenarios. I think I will go and fall over now.

    More tea please.

  4. James Schend says:

    The movie Hildalgo claimed to be based on a true story.

    It’s not; it’s based on a story that the author claims is true but not one single fact in the story has ever been confirmed by anybody ever. It’s generally believed he made it all up.

    Maybe I’m a stickler, but I don’t think that counts as "based on a true story."

  5. Philo says:

    Sounds like watching someone play a video game…

  6. kbiel says:


    That’s called hiring OJ’s defense team.

  7. Mikkin says:

    This is like a homeopathic solution that is so dilute none of the active molecule remains. When the message is infinitely removed from reality, what remains is more potent than the thing itself: it is the very essence of reality.

    The same principle has direct application to programming, by use of infinite loops to find the essential solution to an otherwise difficult problem.

  8. Marc Hawley says:

    A pointer to a pointer.

  9. Dean Harding says:

    James: The movie Fargo says it’s "based on a true story" at the beginning. Of course, it’s not, but the writers figured that if the whole movie was a lie, one more is no big deal…

  10. matthew says:

    I read it as lawyers too.

    I think it was a trick of the mind, because the title is about deliberately confusing people and being far-distant from reality, so your mind reads ‘layers’ as ‘lawyers’, because that IMO would be a more common word to use in this sentence.

  11. Mike Dimmick says:

    I must be tired – I read that as "Inserting as many *lawyers* between the message and reality as possible"

  12. gkdada says:

    If I made a movie, the sub-title would claim it to be ‘based on true story’ with a disclaimer in the next screen to the effect that ‘any similarities between the characters of the movie and real persons – living or dead – is purely coincidental’.

  13. Josh says:

    Philo: Come on! Where’s the obligatory link?

  14. Adam says:

    Hmmm. The link that occurred to me was to Neal Stephenson’s "In the beginning was the command line…"[0], in the chapter on "The Interface Culture" –

    "I was in Disney World recently, specifically the part of it called the Magic Kingdom, walking up Main Street USA. This is a perfect gingerbready Victorian small town that culminates in a Disney castle. It was very crowded; we shuffled rather than walked. Directly in front of me was a man with a camcorder. It was one of the new breed of camcorders where instead of peering through a viewfinder you gaze at a flat-panel color screen about the size of a playing card, which televises live coverage of whatever the camcorder is seeing. He was holding the appliance close to his face, so that it obstructed his view. Rather than go see a real small town for free, he had paid money to see a pretend one, and rather than see it with the naked eye he was watching it on television.

    And rather than stay home and read a book, I was watching him."

    And he goes on to talk about mediated experiences in general.


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