Monday, January 28, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

What is up with all the lying? Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o, Susan Rice, every politician who has ever stood in front of a microphone…what happened to the antiquated notion that most of us grew up with—Honesty is the best policy?  Who cares anymore about integrity and honesty? Frankly, the truth seems to be beside the point, a notion reserved for people from a different generation. As a concept, it leaves a lot to be desired, but notoriety, now that's an idea with bite.

I don’t follow football, but being the mother of two avid fans, I can claim a middling ability to recognize some names. I’ve heard of Mark Sanchez, Drew Brees, Tim Tebow, Peyton and Eli, Tom Brady and a couple more names that escape me at the moment. Owing to the latest firestorm of incredulity at the whopper of a story delivered by the Notre Dame Heisman almost, the name Manti Te’o is now a household name—so, mission accomplished, I guess.
But if we’re all going to find out the truth anyway, what could be the point of lying? 

My guess is that it’s Ego—the insecure need to feed it, the belief that some people are above the truth, that their awesomeness can transcend it. It can be as simple as that. Either we won’t catch them because they’re that good at covering their tracks, or we’ll be so enamored of them anyway that we’ll forgive them. Maybe it simply never occurred to these liars that they would be held accountable for their actions. That takes a strong helping of ego, and I believe that is the common denominator here. 

All of this denial while the public is watching the cringe-worthy protestations allows these lying, slippery, snakes (sorry) to dig in deep after being found out, continuing the charade until it becomes a living breathing thing, at which point it is time for the 'sit down interview' with whoever lobbied hardest for the ‘get’.   
Lance Armstrong chose Oprah who showed the interview on her cable station OWN that no one can find (which would have been a great idea, Lance, in the days before ‘you tube’). 

Nevertheless, this was a brilliant move on Lance’s part for another reason. We all know what happened when James Frey lied to Oprah about what we now know is a highly fictionalized account of his memoir about his struggle with addiction, A Million Little Pieces. She was furious that she and her millions of followers were all duped into believing his fabrication of events. Knowing of her integrity and gravitas, Lance and his people probably figured he would give his redemptive interview to her in a last attempt at salvaging his tainted reputation. Oprah was well aware that she would be giving a platform to a known liar and scrupulously had the 112 points he made during the interview thoroughly checked, finding them to be factual. Imagine her shock at having been fooled again when 60 Minutes released their story a couple of days ago that the chief of the USADA claims Lance lied to Oprah during his interview.

If I wasn’t dizzy trying to keep track of all the lies by our reigning whopper champs, Lance and Manti, I’d be truly entertained. But as it is, I'm just sad.

My cleaning lady, who is paid an hourly wage, told me she left an hour and a half early last week, having forgotten to tell me about a doctor appointment. I had paid her for the day before I left, and there was no reason for her to be honest about the missing hours except for her own innate integrity and conscience. And because I always despised those teachers who would take off the two points you discovered when you added up your test score rather than leave the grade intact for your honesty, I’m not docking her pay. Her admission was refreshing rather than distressing. I appreciate her having been adult enough to do what others who have been propped up by our society aren’t man enough to do--speak the truth and take a chance on the fallout.

 It is truly a sobering day when someone we have allowed to represent our country in a worldwide sport, a multi-millionaire, a spokesman for charities, sports equipment and a myriad of products has less integrity and a whole heck of a lot less grace than a maid who takes pride in her work and herself. 

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