We no longer live in a world where truth matters. As I scrolled through Twitter the other day while having my first cup of coffee, as one often does, I saw this post from a friend warning people about trusting things. It had a side by side image and video. In one side was a picture of Audrey Hepburn from the end of the movie Roman Holiday. On the other, someone had made that image speak. (https://x.com/owenkemeys/status/1763256325100777573?s=46)

I didn’t listen to the video because in an age of AI and deep fakes, I find this type of behavior abhorrent, even if it is to be funny. This belief is based on two things. First, because I am an educator who believes that there is an objective truth, that rejects postmodern ideology with  all that I am. The second comes from one of my core values, justice. I don’t like lies or any untruths. So much so that even as a simple prank, like what occurs on April Fool’s Day is the one day a year that I actually follow through on not wanting to be on social media. 

So, when I saw that they’d made a photo speak, I had no desire to watch it. And, as much as the movie Roman Holiday destroyed me when, at the age of sixteen I first watched it with my high school best friend, I could not watch it. Let me clarify, this is one of the great movies of the 1950s. I fell in love with that movie right up until the end and it started my lifelong crush on Gregory Peck. A crush that was solidified as if cupid himself had shot that arrow through my heart when he played that moral justice giant Atticus Finch. 

So, back to Roman Holiday. Imagine a sixteen year old girl in the late 1980s, who had yet to really fall in love, become broken inside as she waited for that white dress to reappear just as her new found crush waited for his princess. I cried and cried and cried. I remember that sinking feeling in my chest like I had personally been wronged. I cried every time I thought of that movie, even in the middle of chemistry class for an entire week.

Believe me, I tried to forget the movie by thinking of all of the other happy things a teenage girl living in the 1988 could muster because this gal is anything but a pretty cryer who cries that one glistening tear. 

Fast forward to today when I saw that deep fake of Audrey Hepburn. There was a flinch to watch it, to see if someone had righted that wrong of how the movie ended. If someone had decided that they too hated the literal communist inspired ending that Dalton Trumbo wrote, who by the way, was on the Hollywood blacklist and did not get the writing credit for many years. I would later watch the video to find it was her singing and not saying anything to change the ending.

Yes, this liberty-minded truth seeking warrior even passed up a chance to right that wrong from decades gone by because it is not the truth. As a historian (perhaps in this day and age of postmodern and Marxist ideologues masking as historians who obliterate any reality the past holds, identifying as a historian isn’t the badge of honor and authority it once was), I know there is an objective reality, a truth of what has happened in the past. So, I respect that Trumbo was an amoral screenwriter who had integrated his Communist ideas into a beautiful narrative of happiness, hope, love, and friendship. I also acknowledge that in my core being I am the complete opposite in that as much as he believed in the oppressor/oppressed view of the world, I believe in the rights of individuals and living a happy life. 

Even so, I don’t want to ever hear that she picked Joel Bradley over her duty to her family and country who stifled her and who killed her spirit to be herself and be happy. I want to feel all the feels of that sixteen year old broken hearted girl because that is part of living, it is how we know how to live a happy life, to know right from wrong, how to be human. We learn what not to do and we try to do better for our happy, individual selves from the great literature of the past as well as movies, even if they are communist propaganda. This is how we become critical thinkers, how to sift through the world around us to know truth from untruth, and this is why we have to be cautious with how we deal with modern technology in our own lives, and even more importantly, in the lives of children. 

We no longer live in a world where truth matters. As I scrolled through Twitter the other day while having my first cup of coffee, as one often does, I saw this post from a friend warning people about trusting things. It had a side by side image and video. In one side was a picture of Audrey Hepburn from the end of the movie Roman Holiday. On the other, someone had made that image speak. 

I didn’t listen to the video at first for in an age of deep fakes, I find behavior abhorrent, even if it is to be funny. This belief is based on two things. First, because I am an educator who believes that there is an objective truth, that rejects postmodern ideology with my all that I am. The second comes from one of my core values, justice. I don’t like lies or any untruths. So much so that even as a simple prank, like what occurs on April Fool’s Day is the one day a year that I actually follow through on not wanting to be on social media. 

So, when I saw that they’d made a photo speak, I had no desire to watch it. And, as much as the movie Roman Holiday destroyed me when, at the age of sixteen I first watched it with my high school best friend, I could not watch. Let me clarify, this is one of the great movies of the 1950s. I fell in love with that movie right up until the end and it started my lifelong crush on Gregory Peck. A crush that was solidified as if cupid himself had shot that arrow through my heart when he played that moral justice giant Atticus Finch. 

Let’s get back to Roman Holiday! Imagine a sixteen year old girl in the late 1980s, who had yet to really fall in love, become broken inside as she waited for that white dress to reappear just as her new found crush waited for his princess. I cried and cried and cried. I remember that sinking feeling in my chest like I had personally been wronged. I cried every time I thought of that movie, even in the middle of chemistry class for an entire week. Believe me, I tried to forget the movie by thinking of all of the other happy things a teenage girl living in the 1988 could muster because this gal is anything but a pretty cryer who cries that one glistening tear. 

Fast forward to today when I saw that deep fake of Audrey Hepburn. There was a flinch to watch it, to see if someone had righted that wrong of how the movie ended. If someone had decided that they too hated the literal communist inspired ending that Dalton Trumbo wrote (by the way, he was on the Hollywood blacklist and did not get the writing credit for many years). (I would later find it was her singing and not saying anything to change the ending.) 

Yes, this liberty-minded truth seeking warrior even passed up a chance to right that wrong from decades gone by because, it is not the truth. As a historian (perhaps in this day and age of postmodern and Marxist ideologues masking as historians who obliterate any reality the past holds, identifying as a historian isn’t the badge of honor and authority it once was), I know there is an objective reality, a truth of what has happened in the past. So, I respect that Trumbo was an amoral screenwriter who had integrated his Communist ideas into a beautiful narrative of happiness, hope, love, and friendship.

I also acknowledge that in my core being I am the complete opposite in that as much as he believed in the oppressor/oppressed view of the world, I believe in the rights of individuals and living a happy life. 

Even so, I don’t want to ever hear that she picked Joel Bradley over her duty to her family and country who stifle her and who killed her spirit to be herself and live a happy life. I want to feel all the feels of that sixteen year old broken hearted girl because that is part of living, it is how we know how to live a happy life, to know right from wrong, how to be human. We learn what not to do and we try to do better for our happy, individual selves from the great literature of the past as well as movies, even if they are communist propaganda. This is how we become critical thinkers, how to sift through the world around us to know truth from untruth, and this is why we have to be cautious with how we deal with the modern technology in our own lives, and even more importantly, in the lives of children. 

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