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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
If You Don't Have Power, Don't Lie

Small Fry

by TOM KERR

The media filleting of alchemist James Frey, author of the faked memoir A Million Little Pieces, assures us that truth matters in America.

How dare Frey pull on our heart strings with his million little lies! How dare he exaggerate and fabricate! How dare he misrepresent the painful events of his life and our times to get our vote, our approval, our backing! How dare he sell us lead for gold, put the Sale before the Truth.

Power is the only real difference between former-addicts-not-quite-well Frey and Bush. We can’t get lying Power in the hot seat, so we’ll take lying Everyman.

Bush and members of his regime lie to sell their story whenever and however required. Lying for them is first nature.

Lies stand in relief against a backdrop of truth. That’s how we typically recognize a lie when we see it. When the backdrop is falsehood, lies blend in.

Bush regime loyalists lie both by omission and commission so often and with such little consequence that it’s hard to see them–to know them–as liars. Many of us know they’re lying, more or less constantly, but when Power lies the lie becomes the truth and it’s hard for an honest person to get any traction-to prove it.

Thus we have the protest slogan-and everyone knows how difficult it is–"Speak Truth to Power." It is quite another matter to speak truth, as Oprah has with enthusiastic approbation from her mainstream media pals, to the powerless. That’s about the easiest thing in the world.

We will never witness Bush being forced to come clean with Oprah on her couch, and Bush, unlike Frey, is never going to say, "Yes, I’ve lied; I regret it. I lied because I am weak." A Democrat congress might have played Oprah’s part in an impeachment, but we’ll never know.

The lesson for kids? If you don’t have power, don’t lie: look what happed to James Fry.

If you’re powerful, lie away, lie to your heart’s content, lie with deep conviction, and lie big: just look at the magnificent Bush regime.

We can’t fry the big fries, so let’s fry James Frey.

TOM KERR teaches writing and rhetoric at Ithaca College. He may be reached at tkerr@ithaca.edu.