Fact and Nuance

I’m writing this post from memory. Yesterday, I was talking to some students and quoted Norman Mailer as saying, “a fact is a compression of nuances that alienates the reality.” Now, as I recall, (and I will check when I get the chance), the actual sentence (somewhere in, I think, The Presidential Papers), says, “…alienate the reality,” i.e., the verb is in the plural, which seems to refer back to “nuances” not “compression”. It’s interesting that such a tiny nuance of language (which may in turn be a typo or misprint) can shift the meaning of a sentence so radically. I’m pretty sure he meant that the compression, not the nuances, alienate(s) the reality, but is there a fact of the matter to settle this question? (Do you see what I did there?)

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