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

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail