(adapted from an article on page B1 of the Atlanta Constitution, Saturday, January 28, 2006)
Andrea Simakis writes, “As members of the greatest consumer culture on the planet, Americans are inundated by less-than-sincere sales pitches goading us to buy….” We live in a world of spin, hype and lies. James Frey lied about elements of his book, the best seller A Million Little Pieces. Presidents have tried to lie about various events surrounding their personal lives or their administration. A governor in the west has admitted he was never drafted by a professional baseball team although he had insisted on it for years.
Instead of outrage, Americans tend to respond to lies and liars with a “who cares” attitude. Martha Stewart is bigger than ever, although she served time for lying to federal prosecutors. Untold numbers lie about their identity on the Internet. Nixon lied, and it cost him the Presidency. Bill Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica, and he got millions to write a best seller.
The hottest craze among college students is poker. Everywhere you turn, you find poker games on TV and hundreds of online games on the Internet. Caroline Keating, professor of psychology at Colgate University says, “All of poker is based on how good your deception skills are. If you can convince us you have cards you don’t have, we’ll pay you big money.”
Reality shows like Survivor are built on deception or alliances built around deception. As Colonel Jessup said in A Few Good Men, “We can’t handle the truth.” Or at least, we don’t want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Virginia Woolf said, “If you don’t tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?”
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