Alternative Facts? No — Alternative Anagrams!

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It’s official: “Alternative facts” tops the list of “notable quotes” from 2017.

That’s according to Fred Shapiro, associate director of the Yale Law School Library. He publishes this annual list, which also includes a bunch of runner-up doozies.

Alternative Facts

Shortly after last January, when Kellyanne Conway left this devil-spawn baby on our lexical doorstep, I jotted down my reaction (published below for the first time):


“Alternative facts” is the latest in Big-Brother doublespeak.

The expression is a tortured euphemism for, well, you know. (By now it’s been pretty thoroughly deconstructed.)

But has anyone else noticed that the very letters in “alternative facts” rearrange to spell:

“Attractive ‘n’ false”
“Fatter, vacant lies”
“Vital fatcat sneer”
“Fascinate alert TV”; and
“Recant vast, fat lie” ?

It’s true! But even though there cannot, by definition, be alternative facts, there always are alternative anagrams.

For example, Julian Lofts, in The Anagram Times, notes that “alternative facts” also is an alternative spelling of “an evil statecraft”.

And Charles Bergquist (@cbquist on Twitter) mentions “rent a cat festival”! I can hardly wait to see what Chris Davis (@TweakYourPC) comes up with!


Alternative Facts? No — Alternative Anagrams! — 6 Comments

    • Thanks, Dev. I mean, not just for the comment, but also for the edit function itself. You were the person who asked for it and thus prompted me to search for a way to add it.

      I haven’t yet taken time to increase the time limit from five to 30 minutes (which I think would be useful). Because my own time is limited — but please stay tuned.

      Unless you’re saying you prefer the five-minute window. Always open to feedback here!

      • Not sure about the time limit. I like it the way it is. But others might disagree. Five may be too short, 30 may be too long. Perhaps something in the middle? Ten? Fifteen?
        Although, there is a certain amount of thrill and rush about a short window. Brings urgency to the matter.

  1. Would be hilarious if not so serious. I heard a quote I wish I could repeat verbatim but it was along the lines that fiction is no longer relevant when the current reality is so fictitious.

    May I copy and paste a portion of your comments onto facebook giving you credit of course?

    Note: how do you argue that an example of an alternative fact would be 2+2=4 and 3+1=4?

    • Neranza, many thanks. Of course you’re welcome to quote — and thanks also for the credit.

      If you’re posting any portion of this note on Facebook, may I recommend you do so as a “link-share”? That way you should get a snazzy full-width graphic image in your post, linking back to my essay.

      It’s easy to do: Just cut-and-paste the actual blog-post link anywhere into your FB note. (It’s You can get the link for any blog post or web page by visiting the page in your browser; place your cursor in the address bar; and press “copy”. Then you can paste it into your FB status box.

      Great point about the math examples. Please let me think about that and I’ll get back to you. ≧◔◡◔≦

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