I don’t watch much TV but last night we caught a little bit of “American Idol” with the kids so we could laugh at the auditions before they went to bed. After that a new show came on and since I’ve been bored (as evidenced by my last couple of blog posts) I decided to see what it was all about.
The name of the show is “Moment of Truth.” I found it to be simultaneously annoying and fascinating. The premise is that they ask the contestants questions while hooked up to a polygraph lie detector machine, and then ask them again in front of their friends and family. And the millions of people watching the show. The point of it seems to be to get these people into the situation where they have to admit to what they think or feel at the cost of destroying their reputations or relationships in order to win big money prizes. It seems to be designed to get the audience to consider what price they would place on sharing their true thoughts as the result of that becomes increasingly hurtful.
The annoying part is that there’s this computerized voice from the beyond that drones: “That answer is…..” and after a pause so long you could throw in a load of laundry: “True!” The pause is so long that unless you have a magazine to read you might start to call up some questions such as: “Why am I watching this?” “Where do they get these people?” “Who comes up with the questions?” “Is this all fake?” Which of course I know it is, and I should probably be more bothered about being falsely manipulated by a TV show that has the word Truth in it’s title, but it was entertaining.
Then this morning on my commute the radio DJs were all abuzz over the breaking news story about the Mayor of Detroit having been caught in a whopper of a lie, under oath, about his relationship with his Chief of Staff as proven by some freshly unearthed text messages. Perjury. It’s dissapointing because we want our leaders to be honest, and it hurts to find out how far they would go to make the reality that they want to be true appear that it is. This stuff makes good news because like that TV show it gets people thinking about truth versus illusion, and what we really want to know…or not.
There is a blog called Post Secret where people send in their secrets on a post card anonymously. It makes you think about what everyone around you isn’t telling. (Warning if you go there: not for kids) Everyone has secrets, and most of them are best kept that way. What if there was a way for us to go around with a lie-detector strapped to our bodies, like a mood ring, that would let everyone know when you are lying? I don’t think that I’d want to live in that world. Sometimes the truth that you want to be real is better than what really is.
Some lies just shouldn’t be told such as: “Their nuclear weapons program makes them a threat to our national security.” But other times I have to wonder whether I’d really want to know if I’m being lied to or not as in:
I can use this gift.
It won’t hurt very much.
You’re getting our very best deal on that.
You look good in your glasses.
I’ll bring you chocolate.
You’re invited because we want you there.
We could really use someone with your skills in this department.
You won’t have to worry about that because I’m going to take care of it.
You’ll lose 6 pounds in 2 weeks.
Not that I mean anything by any of these, I’m just making up examples…honest!