FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Art of Lying

by DAVID MACARAY

After so many politicians and entertainers have embarrassed themselves by being caught in pathetic, utterly transparent lies, you would think people in the public eye would have learned enough from these past blunders to come up with a different strategy when asked potentially damaging questions.  Alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The most recent goof was that of Anne Gust Brown, California Governor Jerry Brown’s wife.  It all began with a message left on an answering machine, in 2010, during the California gubernatorial race.  Apparently, as reported in the Sacramento Bee (June 6), an anonymous female caller had left a message on someone’s machine in which she referred to Republican candidate Meg Whitman as a “whore.”

Because the voice sounded like Mrs. Brown’s, she was asked point-blank if it were, in fact, she who had left the message.  At this juncture, Mrs. Brown could have simply copped to it and said, “Yep, that was me.  In the heat of battle I used a very poor choice of words, for which I apologize.”  Or she could have flatly lied, and risked going to Hell, and said,  “Nope, that wasn’t me.  Sorry, but that is definitely not my voice.”  Period.

But instead of either, this was the convoluted answer she gave:  “I listened to that tape, and I couldn’t hear the word in question. I couldn’t hear it at all….I don’t know who it was.  I’m not saying it couldn’t have been me.  I thought okay, it probably was me….By the eighth time listening to it, I thought it wasn’t really worth my time.”

So the word “whore,” the word everyone else had heard on the recording, was the one word Mrs. Brown insisted she couldn’t hear.  Moreover, she claimed she was unable to identify her own voice.  She said she had no idea who it was who was talking.  Then, as the questioning continued, she admitted that, yes, it could have been her.  Then she finally confessed that “it probably was me.”

Granted, one could rightly criticize the media for trying to make an issue out of something this trivial.  Really, guys, you have nothing better to write about than the use of a pejorative term on somebody’s phone machine three years ago?  But trivial or not, Mrs. Brown made a mildly embarrassing situation infinitely worse by equivocating to the point of near absurdity.  This bright and engaging woman came off sounding like a fool.

Which brings us to Anthony Weiner’s penis.  We all know the story.  Congressman Weiner sent photos of his penis to an appreciative woman Internet acquaintance.  As happens all too often (learn from this, people!), these embarrassing photos managed to find their way into the public domain, and Weiner found himself in a world of trouble.

In fairness to Weiner, let’s not pretend that all he needed to do to get out of this mess was to say what we suggested Mrs. Brown say—in other words, simply cop to it and expect to move on.  “Yes, it was my penis in those photos.  And I have no further comment.”  In no way was that terse little statement going to satisfy the media, not by a long-shot.

But Weiner put himself in the untenable position of sounding, simultaneously, both intelligent and idiotic.  In answer to whether or not that was his penis in the photo, he professed not to know, which, I would argue, wasn’t an entirely unreasonable answer.  After all, how many men, if shown flashcards of penises, could instantly identify their own?  I seriously doubt I could.

What sank Weiner were his subsequent answers.  When he admitted he couldn’t say whether the penis in the photo was his own, the follow-up question was:  Have you ever had photographs taken of your penis?  And when Weiner said he was uncertain of that as well, that’s when his shaky account began to unravel.

The lesson?  Assume that the truth will eventually see the light of day, that you’ll be caught and exposed, and plan your response accordingly.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor” 2nd edition), was a former union rep.  Dmacaray@earthlink.net

 

 

 

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s Slurs Against China
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail