Saturday, August 30, 2003

It's Hard Not To Lie

Now Reading: Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them

I can't help but laugh. I thought enviously: I can write! I can be funny! Why can't I have Al Franken's job?

But sometimes--not as much as Michael Moore, but a bit--Al's a bit mean.

Still, someone has to catch the liars. I'm not as starry-eyed about the Democratic Party as Franken by a long shot but I laugh very hard at some passages.

Bush lies about weapons inspectors

This made me think about how Bush gets away with lying. almost seems unfair to attack him! It's the whole 'developmentally disabled cousin' thing. Like you are having dinner and your developmentally disabled cousin says something like "I'm going to marry a lesbian!" And you chuckle or look down discreetly. But you don't say anything critical because that wouldn't be fair. He doesn't know any better.

I also realized it isn't that easy to avoid lying. It's difficult to never, ever lie. Not merely because you want to preserve people's feelings but because there are so many situations where lying preserves the ease of your life and truth would only make things much harder. Truth is a sticky, nasty and dangerous business.

There's also the case where people ask you questions and to avoid the answer would reveal the truth but you realize they had no business asking. An easy lie to rationalize but also perhaps a totally justified lie.

Then there is the 'I forgot!'

And the 'get myself out of trouble' lie.

Here's a Howard Dean lie. It isn't one of the worst.

Then there is the deliberate intention to mislead. The really bad, evil lie. I'd say some of the adminstration's lies are lies of that nature. "The big lie"--as in a political lie to manipulate the citizenry and increase one's own power.

The Big Lie is the lie that gets people killed, the subverts democracy and all the rest. But the teller of the Big Lie does not have his character exposed as cowardly or sneaky. Rather, the Big Liar is someone who made a plan and carried it out--and this is something Americans tend to admire. And this is why people get away more easily with Big Lies.

I think many people--conservatives at the current time, Communists at others and many other types--prefer the 'Big Lie.' The get out of trouble lie seems weak. Same with the self-aggrandizing lie. The white lie can also seem weak. The Big Lie is Machiavellian, strong, potent, virile. It's clearly the most culpable and dangerous sort of lying there is but it does not suggest effeminancy and powerlessness on the part of its teller. Just the opposite. I do think this may be why some people (and only some) don't mind the current 'Big Lie' but would become more incensed at little wimpy lies. Or Bill Clinton-esque slippery cheatin' heart lies. Or self-aggrandizing lies.

The guy who tells the 'Big Lie' is in control. (Well, not the actual spokesperson, i.e., president, in this case...but someone is in control.)


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