Back in the day, con men were wizards of the lie. If they weren’t they’d find themselves in a jail cell with a guy who robbed a 7-11 for a pack of filter-tipped Camels and a bathtub-sized Slurpee. Good con-men know the secret to a lie is a shade of truthiness. Con men these days aren’t so sharp – perhaps because they can no longer tell lies from truth or even believe their own grifty stories, which is the kiss of death to a professional liar.
Take politicians. They used to switch positions by citing subtle nuances in language or deftly changing the topic in such a way as to show the discrepancy was really the sign of a world-class leader who earnestly believes both sides are equally correct.
Then, Busheney – the antithesis of good liars – came along.
‘I Was For It While I Was Against It’
“I’m totally against Position A,” they’d say at one speech. A week later they’re saying, “I’m totally for Position A.” When asked about the discrepancy – usually including videotape showing there was no ambiguity in either statement – they simply answered, “Yeah, what’s your point?”
This isn’t just a public sector problem either. Most big corporations have finally realized the world really does belong entirely to them. Look at BP.
From Day 1, BP has misappropriated the phrase, “We’ll be here until we’ve made things right.” First, BP showed their commitment to the slogan by having their CEO, then an Executive VP, and now an “operations coordinator” tell us how swell they are and how we’re lucky this whole oil leak didn’t involve another oil company.
I mean who knows what might have happened if it was an Exxon well. I know I’m counting my blessings.
Every day they issue a statement or agree to a rule or some other vitally important matter only to reverse course the next day when someone catches them looping the camera feed or preventing reporters from being on “their” beach.
If there were no lame attempts, there’d be no attempts at hiding the lie at all. Oh yeah, they do that too.
Surprisingly, I used to feel more comfortable when they made the effort to cover their tracks. I am a man who admires craftsmanship and telling a good lie is about as crafty as it gets. When they deftly lied, it made me feel I was important in my own small way. If I, the little cog in the big machine, was vital enough to be lied to, I must be important somehow.
If you Must Lie, Lie Big
It’s something like buying a used car and waiting for the Big Shoe Lie to drop. If it doesn’t, you’re more leery than if they had lied. You almost feel cheated. “I’m gonna get this car home and the tranny’s going to fall out into my driveway, isn’t it?”
I implore all you professional liars out there to take pride in your work. Politicians, tell us a whopper. CEO’s, tell us you’d give the big bonuses back if only the company would accept them. PR flaks, call oil spills, “marginally demonetized drilling operations with opportunities for enhanced change and profitability.”
Lie to me. Go ahead. I can’t take the unvarnished truth anymore.
- Focus shifts from drilling ban to ‘virtual moratorium’ (theglobeandmail.com)
- `Truthiness’ Is Named Word of the Year (atomiurl.com)
- Implicit Complicity and “Negative Spillover”: Reputation Damage from BP’s Oil Spill Crisis (AuthenticOrganizations.com)
- No-Fishing Area Shrinks in Gulf (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Because an Environmentalist Would Lie?: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Everything Is A Lie: The Deliberate Intent To Deceive People Is At An All Time High (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)
- Spike Lee Slams U.S. Report on Vanishing Oil (theroot.com)