FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Art of Lying

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

 

 

 

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 18, 2019
Gerald Sussman
Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!
Lance Olsen
Perverse Housing Policy Perverts Forest Policy
Richard Ward
All Will be Punished
Jonathan Cook
Annexation of West Bank May Provide Key to Unlocking Netanyahu’s Legal Troubles
Judith Deutsch
People Music: Malignant Phallic Narcissism v. Being Ordinary
Jan Oberg
The Iran Floods and US Sanctions: 10 Million at Risk, But Who Cares?
Manuel E. Yepe
Assange: Between Gratitude and Betrayal
Ralph Nader
Children’s Moral Power Can Challenge Corporate Power on Climate Crisis
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Your Check is in the Mail
Binoy Kampmark
The European Union and Refugees in the Mediterranean
Arnold R. Isaacs
Looking Back at 1919: Immigration, Race, and Women’s Rights, Then and Now
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Shock Doctrine
Michael Howard
Assange and the Cowardice of Power
Jesse Jackson
Making Wall Street Pay for the Financial Crisis
Mel Gurtov
At Risk—the Idea of America
April 17, 2019
James Bovard
Washington’s Biggest Fairy Tale: “Truth Will Out”
Yoav Litvin
The Ilhan Omar Gambit: Anti-Semitism as a Reactionary Political Tool
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Hawai’i in Trouble
Vijay Prashad
To Ola Bini, a Political Prisoner Caught Up in the Assange Debacle
Hans Muilerman and Jonathan Latham
EU Threatens to Legalize Human Harm From Pesticides
Binoy Kampmark
Delegitimising Journalism: The Effort to Relabel Julian Assange
Jack Rasmus
Trump Whacks the Middle Class
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Burning Cathedral and the Dead Turtle
Kenneth Surin
Insurgencies in Malaysia and Vietnam: Boyhood Reflections
Rev. William Alberts
Opening Tombs and Resurrecting Lives
Tom Engelhardt
How the U.S. Military Feeds at the Terror Trough
Norman Solomon
The Toxic Lure of “Guns and Butter”
George Wuerthner
How to Stop Grazing on Public Lands: Buy Out the Permits
George Ochenski
Vote-Trading for Big Coal
John Stanton
The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self
April 16, 2019
Richard Rubenstein
Julian and Martin: Reflections on the Arrest of Assange
Geoff Dutton
Talking Trash: Unfortunate Truths About Recycling
Kenn Orphan
A Land Uncharted: the Persecution of Julian Assange
Patrick Cockburn
Netanyahu’s Victory in Israel Tells Us About the Balance of Power in the Middle East
Robert Fisk
No More Excuses: Israeli Voters Have Chosen a Country that Will Mirror the Brutal Regimes of its Arab Neighbours
Jonah Raskin
The French (Bread) Connection in a Bourgeois California Town
Denis Rogatyuk
The Ordeal of Julian Assange
David Swanson
Exporting Dictators
Ted Rall
Self-Censorship is Credibility Suicide
Robert Koehler
War Crimes and National Security
Lee Ballinger
None Dare Call It Fascism
April 15, 2019
Bruce Neuburger
The Border, Trumpian Madness and the Clash of Demographics
Patrick Cockburn
Calling Assange a Narcissist Misses the Point
Conn Hallinan
Diego Garcia: The “Unsinkable Carrier” Springs a Leak
Dan Corjescu
State of Apocalyptic Nature: A Contract with Gaia
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail