Sunday, January 20, 2013

In Today's Lies--

Size doesn't matter. 

(Right.   Everyone knows it does;  no one likes being in the ocean in a dinghy.  Accept it and move on.)

When it comes to lies, though, does size matter?  Size is in the eye of the beholder, apparently.

Subway footlongs are not always a footlong.  Sometimes they're only eleven inches.  Turns out calling it a footlong, isn't necessarily meant to suggest that the sandwich measures one foot long.  What would have ever given you that idea?!

It's been a banner week for the liars of the world.  First, from the world of sports, Oprah (yes, Oprah) made the rounds early in the week to publicize (her) OWN's big GET, her interview with former professional cyclist and monumental fraud Lance Armstrong that was broadcast on Thursday. Turns out he'd been doping and lying all along, collecting medals and millions along the way.  His turn on Oprah, admitting he doped his way to seven gold Tour de France wins, was a stab at Clintonesque redemption, I guess, but he needs to work on his faux remorse.

I don't consider myself gullible, and I don't think people who know me do either (or perhaps it's naive of me to think so), but when Lance Armstrong gave his Tour de France medals back a few months ago, I didn't interpret it as some type of half-assed admission of doping.   I thought he was retired, taking the high road, raising kids and just tired of the perpetual whispering investigation, wanted to remove the specter of wrongdoing from the family's sphere.  I thought he was just trying to shut the whole thing down -- enough already!-- in order to move on with his life.

It's not because I'm a biker or a Lance Armstrong groupie that I felt that way. I simply could not fathom someone would go to such length, breadth and depth, to lie, so often, and for so long. 

Silly me.

Since the advent of social media, the use of petitions to effectuate change has exploded.  Sometimes it actually makes things happen: offensive dolls get pulled off store shelves at least one tasteless reality show stayed in the can and won't air (anytime soon, anyway.)  Even the White house is in on the game, guaranteeing a response to petitions with an increasing number of signatures.  Too bad we can't start a petition to bring back shame.  People need to get back to being ashamed of themselves.  

It's not just in the public sphere that these elaborate frauds are perpetrated. During a recent interview, a veteran of online dating sites lamented the plethora of sociopaths there.  One guy went to considerable length to persuade her of his decent intentions and dispel her suspicions about his marital status, painstakingly answering question after question--for weeks-- whenever her suspicions got the best of her.  Eventually she surrendered her hesitancy to get involved, opened herself to the possibility of new friendship and its benefits and settled into a comfortable scenario with him.  Fast forward three months after she'd let her guard down; they'd gotten together  a few times, exchanged volumes of caring texts and  emails, shopped, done household tasks, played online games and even had a tiff or two-- and one day he responded to a customary, innocuous text that she sent:
in a rather uncustomary way--

 "Did I tell you I'm married?  Been in an open marriage for three years now."

Er, uh...  flags not red enough?  How about lightning bolts instead, with your name spelled out in flames?  The thing is, you just never know when someone's lying, until you do.  A con man's glibness has overcome many a skeptic's gut instinct. 

Back in the world of sports, a talented football player at Notre Dame learned of the death of his grandmother and his girlfriend on the same day, within hours of an upcoming championship game.  Apparently he played very well, channelling his grief for the loss of his recently deceased beloveds into athletic motivation. It was a heartwarming, poignant story, but-- it was also a lie. 

It's not that Manti Te'o's girlfriend didn't die, it's that said girlfriend was never born. She never existed; it was a hoax, also known as, a lie.  The most despicable thing about this lie is that it's garnered far more investigative action and concern from Notre Dame's coaching staff, than the charges of rape and sexual assault previously raised against Notre Dame players by young women, one of whom committed suicide due to the threats and harrassment she received after making her claim.

I guess it's true, in the case of lies, that size doesn't matter.  People  contort humongous, multi-textured lies, and embellish them with righteous indignation for good measure, to protect or perpetuate their fortunes, vast or not.  

Maybe Big Pharma should spend less resources on erectile dysfunction and more on anti-sociopathy meds.  Somebody should start a petition for that.

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