Showing posts with label lies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lies. Show all posts

05 September 2016

Lies, Lies, Lies

by Jan Grape

     Did I write about this last year or year before last? Actually, I think I wrote about Telling Lies For Fun and Profit. It's just that telling lies constantly from news media and from politicians is driving me nuts. I know I don't honestly want to write about political stuff but, I'm going to try to just write about lying.

     When we write our stories, we are writing fiction. Stuff we make up in our heads. Yes, it's lying in a sense. However, we're lying to entertain ourselves and our readers or fans. Story tellers have been around for centuries. Anyone who could tell a good story was invited by kings and rulers to attend court and tell a good story. Those who did tell a good story were rewarded and those whose stories fell flat sometimes were imprisoned or even lost their head.

     Thank goodness things aren't quite that bad for we lying fiction writers. If people don't care for our lies, I mean our stories, people won't buy our books and next thing you know publishers won't publish our books. We are predisposed to tell intriguing, believable lies. Stories that entertain. Stories that have characters that our readers can like and root for or maybe even root for a character to be caught and punished.

     What's with all the lies we hear on the news every hour of every day? Television has reached a point where the news anchors repeat lies or they interview people from campaigns or people in Congress who just out and out lie. Supposedly it's to keep higher ratings for the TV network and their advertisers. And I suppose for the newspaper's advertisers. The huge companies can't have a two-cent drop in revenue because their competition might make three cents more.

     A few years ago, we had a political candidate who was a member of the Mormon church. I have nothing against that religion.  I have nothing against any religion or the lack there of. Whatever a person believes is certainly between them and their supreme being. In doing a little research on the Mormon church, I discovered that their attitude was if you were lying for the Lord, it was okay to do so. If we have any Mormon readers and this isn't true, please let me know. What constitutes a lie for the Lord, I wonder?

     I was just taught that lying was about the worst thing you could do. If I had committed some infraction of our house rules, I would get in worst trouble if I lied about it. I might get punished for breaking a house rule but then if I lied about what I had done I was in deep trouble. I tried to bring my own children up with the same lesson.

   You could rightly guess that I really hate liars. I'm not talking little white lies that we have to tell or at least think we have to tell.  Like when a wife ask her hubby if these slacks make her butt look too big. Not when we know we'll hurt some one's feelings way more than necessary if we told the truth.  Not we crazy folks who tell lies for fun and profit. But plain old everyday liars. We've all known people who are pathological liars. They tell lies when telling the truth doesn't matter at all.

     I'm talking about the big whoppers the new media allow politicians to tell on air and the TV talking head doesn't call them out on it. Or the news media that keeps a reporter and allows that person to stay on the air when that person not just lies, but make up facts.

     I think it's setting a horrible example for our children. You listen to television and you hear the lie and you say out loud. "That's a lie. I know because I fact-checked it." Your child hears this and that little brain absorbs that fact. The children don't need the hate and bullying being screamed at them daily from their televisions either. Again, the children thinks it's okay to act that way. It's already showing up in schools all over the country and it's going to only get worse.

     Lies, lies, lies where does it lead us? Into a bad situation, is my sad guess. Can we stop it? Does anyone want to stop it?

     Thanks all, for letting me get this out. It's been bothering me. Let's all get back to telling lies for fun and profit.

11 November 2013

Comedy, Strange & Weird Thoughts


by Jan Grape

The comedy part is the whole plagiarism by one of our country's high profile politicians. Don't know if any of you are a Rand Paul fan but this man obviously does NOT understand plagiarism. If I had written all the words in Wickipedia or the web sites or his books, I would have been upset.

Some news media have suggested that perhaps the author was thrilled that someone in national office would use their words in everything he writes and speaks. Maybe so, and we all know that politicians don't write their own speeches, but still. The funny thing is that the man got mad at everyone who pointed out this plagiarism. Instead of saying, "I've got to check into this, someone in my office needs to go back to school." That probably would have been the end of it. He tries to act as if nothing is his fault. He's ready to fight a duel if dueling was still legal. He talks about references and footnotes and how he can't do that in a speech.  What was wrong was saying, "This reminds me of a scene in a movie and I quote?" The more he's vented his rage, the more all his previous work has been checked and more and more plagiarism has been found.

The strange is how CBS's Sixty Minutes was duped by a guy claiming to have been present in Benghazi when our Ambassador was killed. He said he was there watching it all, and how the enemies didn't see him because he hid in the dark. He gave strong details. I haven't read his book but looks like it might be a complete work of fiction. Seems it didn't take much to disprove his story and yet the powers that be at Sixty Minutes didn't do their due diligence. I've heard the reporter and CBS has apologized and I'm waiting for the airing tonight to see if they retract the story on their time on air. I'm also wondering if anyone from that program will be fired.

The weird to me seems that lying has become the normal for politicians and the media. What the heck? We're the ones who tell lies for fun and profit, aren't we? How dare they try to take our jobs away from us. Look, folks it's hard enough to sell our fiction nowadays without everyone and his dog claiming their story is important. And they get national attention for it. I know, I know, politicians and news reporters have been lying for years but suddenly it's become rampant. Well, I for one am sick of these Johnny-come-latelys horning in on our turf. I think we should organize a sit-in demonstration. Any takers? Just spread the news, set the time and place and I'll be there with my sign of protest. I'll bring my goggles in case the fuzz tries to pepper-spray us.

That's all I can write tonight. I have a few things I need to plagiarize for a media outlet or a politician, I can't remember which.

06 November 2012

Election Day

by Dale C. Andrews

    Whew! 

    What can make you long for an otherwise insufferable commercial hawking ginsu knives?  (But wait – call in the next ten minutes and we will double your order!  Operators are standing by!) The answer, at least in areas within and surrounding eight so-called “battleground states” in our fine (but now frayed) union is the political commercial.

    We live in Washington, D.C., safely Democratic.  And we are close to Maryland, also safely Democratic.  But our television channels broadcast south as well, across the Potomac River to decidedly purple Virginia.  So we have been bombarded with political hawking now for months, and that seems to the captive viewer like years. 

   Commercials grant politicians the license to be a bit freer with the truth than they are in person.  (“Freer with the truth” being a euphemism for “lying.”)  Actual in-person accusations of lying are rather infrequent now-a-days.  But this was not always the case.  Theodore Roosevelt once roared at a presidential opponent that he was “atrociously and wickedly lying.”  And good old Abraham Lincoln had this to say about Stephen Douglas during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates:  “I don’t know what to call you except you are a liar.” 

    According to those keeping tabs on such things the current candidates to lead the country for the next four years have largely eschewed the use of the “L” word.  Instead of accusing each other of lies here is what we have instead by proxy (as collected in The Washington Post, October 24, 2012 at page A19):

    Mitt Romney: 
  • “I don’t concur with what the president said about my own record and the things that I’ve said. They don’t happen to be accurate.”
  • “You got that fact wrong.”
  • “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
  • “You’re wrong.”
President Obama:
  • “The math doesn’t work, but he continues to claim that he’s going to do it.”
  • “This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign. And every fact checker and every reporter who’s looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true.”
  • “And the fact is . . . ”
  • “Governor Romney, that’s not what you said . . . ”
  • “I think anybody out there can check the record. Governor Romney, you keep on trying to, you know, airbrush history here. . . . That wasn’t true."
    But the simple fact is, if you credibly don’t want to be called a liar the easiest approach is this:  Don’t lie.  The problem with the approach is, that like many simple solutions it doesn’t work.  Bending the truth has a long history of getting candidates elected in the United States.  But for one of the best solutions that honors telling only the truth while still maintaining the capacity to sway the unsuspecting electorate one can look back to 1950 and the fabled Florida senatorial race between Claude Pepper, a liberal New Dealer previously swept into the Senate for what turned out to be only one term, and George Smathers, who took Pepper’s seat and served as Florida’s senator through 1969. 

    Smather’s challenge, in attempting to unseat his fellow Democrat Pepper, (back then in Florida the Democratic primary was the election) was to sway the upstate (for want of a better phrase “educationally challenged”) Florida populace.  Recorded speeches were a rarity in 1950, particularly stump speeches, and what Smathers said and what he did not say in his Florida panhandle campaign addresses has been roundly debated for years.  But according to many reports his stump speech included a clever use of paronomasia, a form of word play that utilizes words that suggests two or more meanings and then relies upon the resulting confusion for rhetorical and persuasive effect.  In any event, here is what Time Magazine in its April 17, 1950 edition had to say about some of the things Smather’s north-Florida stump speech may or may not have contained:
Time, April 17, 1950
Smathers was capable of going to any length in campaigning, but he indignantly denied that he had gone as far as a story printed in northern newspapers. The story wouldn't die, nonetheless, and it deserved not to. According to the yarn, Smathers had a little speech for cracker voters, who were presumed not to know what the words meant except that they must be something bad. The speech went like this: "Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper before his marriage habitually practiced celibacy."

    It was also reported that Smathers bellowed to the crowds that in order to attend college Mr. Pepper was forced to matriculate.

    True or not, the story became one of which legends are made.  So much so that 20 years later Bill Garvin in issue 139 of Mad Magazine, December, 1970, offered up the following wonderful example of how to nail your opponent without stooping to lying:

Mad Magazine, Dec. 1970
    My fellow citizens, it is an honor and a pleasure to be here today.  My opponent has openly admitted he feels an affinity toward your city, but I happen to like this area. It might be a salubrious place to him, but to me it is one of the nation's most delightful garden spots.

    When I embarked upon this political campaign, I hoped that it could be conducted on a high level and that my opponent would be willing to stick to the issues. Unfortunately, he has decided to be tractable instead -- to indulge in unequivocal language, to eschew the use of outright lies in his speeches, and even to make repeated veracious statements about me.

    At first I tried to ignore these scrupulous, unvarnished fidelities. Now I will do so no longer. If my opponent wants a fight, he's going to get one!

       It might be instructive to start with his background. My friends, have you ever accidentally dislodged a rock on the ground and seen what was underneath? Well, exploring my opponent's background is dissimilar. All the slime and filth and corruption you can possibly imagine, even in your wildest dreams, are glaringly nonexistent in this man's life. And even in his childhood!

       Let us take a very quick look at that childhood: It is a known fact that, on a number of occasions, he emulated older boys at a certain playground. It is also known that his parents not only permitted him to masticate in their presence, but even urged him to do so. Most explicable of all, this man who poses as a paragon of virtue exacerbated his own sister when they were both teenagers!

       I ask you, my fellow Americans: is this the kind of person we want in public office to set an example for our youth?

       Of course, it's not surprising that he should have such a typically pristine background -- no, not when you consider the other members of his family:

       His female relatives put on a constant pose of purity and innocence, and claim they are inscrutable, yet every one of them has taken part in hortatory activities.

       The men in the family are likewise completely amenable to moral suasion.

       My opponent's uncle was a flagrant heterosexual.

       His sister, who has always been obsessed by sects, once worked as a proselyte outside a church.

       His father was secretly chagrined at least a dozen times by matters of a pecuniary nature.

       His youngest brother wrote an essay extolling the virtues of being a homo sapien.

       His great-aunt expired from a degenerative disease.

       His nephew subscribes to a phonographic magazine.

       His wife was a thespian before their marriage and even performed the act in front of paying customers.

       And his own mother had to resign from a women's organization in her later years because she was an admitted sexagenarian.

       Now what shall we say about the man himself?

       I can tell you in solemn truth that he is the very antithesis of political radicalism, economic irresponsibility and personal depravity. His own record proves that he has frequently discountenanced treasonable, un-American philosophies and has perpetrated many overt acts as well.

       He perambulated his infant on the street.

       He practiced nepotism with his uncle and first cousin.

       He attempted to interest a 13-year-old girl in philately.

       He participated in a seance at a private residence where, among other odd goings-on, there was incense.

       He has declared himself in favor of more homogeneity on college campuses.

       He has advocated social intercourse in mixed company - and has taken part in such gatherings himself.

       He has been deliberately averse to crime in our city streets.

       He has urged our Protestant and Jewish citizens to develop more catholic tastes.

       Last summer he committed a piscatorial act on a boat that was flying the U.S. flag.

       Finally, at a time when we must be on our guard against all foreign isms, he has cooly announced his belief in altruism - and his fervent hope that some day this entire nation will be altruistic!

       I beg you, my friends, to oppose this man whose life and work and ideas are so openly and avowedly compatible with our American way of life. A vote for him would be a vote for the perpetuation of everything we hold dear.

       The facts are clear; the record speaks for itself. Do your duty.
    Well, enough of this.  Be sure you vote today.  Unless you are voting for that other guy.  In which case,  stay home.