If I Were The Truth I'd Lie

There are times when the truth itself should opt to fib or take the fifth. It would be a damn jackass not to. Furthermore, neither it (truth) nor I tend to be scandalized by the social tool called the lie. Along with God (in whom some of us still trust), justice, (in which most of us have our doubts), and freedom of speech (not always accompanied by freedom of thought), we have built ourselves a great country with no discernable immutability of culture.

It's understandable; we're young and we've come a long way. But we're getting silly. Isn't it some kind of a paradox that the more legal we get, the more outraged we are about lying? One definition of lie is: to be in a helpless or defenseless state. Self-preservation is a trait given to us by nature in order to insure our survival. Lying is as much a part of our nature as, well, say, smiling through our teeth is. It's the old coercive effect of circumstance upon our behavior and it is one of the building blocks of civilization.

So what's the big deal? The big deal comes from the demands we now make on people to be transparent in a way that defies common sense especially given the decontextualized climate in which we go about our lives. You have parents of dead or missing children hypocritically criticized for consulting legal counsel. "Well, if they have nothing to hide, why would they do that?" goes the thinking. All right, then, let's say they're innocent of anything nefarious. Are they wise to trust in a system that has lost its innocence? What will happen to the truth they tell if they go unprotected in a community jumping to conclusions or bent on setting an example?

Then there's the President, of course, who, as I understand it, is doing nothing that hasn't been done before, but now it's suddenly taken on witch-hunt proportions with McCarthy overtones. We're not talking constitutional concerns here--just conjugal. When George Washington's father asked him if it was he who cut down the cherry tree, little George was free to chirp, "I cannot tell a lie." It was just a God-damned tree after all! Supposed he was asked if he had fucked the neighbor's daughter? "I cannot tell a lie"? I don't think so! I submit that if we're going to ask point-blank outlandish questions, we deserve a reasonably clever rendition of reality . . . nothing more. "Mr. President; did you have oral sex with that intern?" "No, Wolf, I did not; as a matter of fact, we never discussed it."

--Nimrod



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