Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Decay of the Art of Lying

As Mark Twain noted in his day, it is not the custom of lying that has suffered. You will seldom be wrong if you assume everything coming from the Bush White House is a lie. It is the skill in the art of lying that has suffered.
No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted. ~ Mark Twain, On The Decay Of The Art Of Lying
Take the case of Tony Snow. Just last Friday at his press briefing (proudly preserved here) Tony said that Iraq's Prime Minister had been misquoted when he said American troops “smash civilian cars and kill on a suspicion or a hunch,” and called the Haditha massacre a crime.
The wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously....Then shall we be rid of the rank and pestilent truth that is rotting the land; then shall we be great and good and beautiful, and worthy dwellers in a world where even benign Nature habitually lies. ~ Twain, ibed ibid
It was a poor effort. Prime Minister al-Maliki was speaking Arabic, always a tricky translation. Snow could have claimed the al-Maliki was really praising the tulip blossoms along the Tigris and no one in the White House briefing room could contradict him, but Snow just babbled about it being convoluted. Bad form. It does not help that Condi Rice called Snow a liar on Fox News today. Tony, your friends need to have your back.
If one is to be called a liar, one may as well make an effort to deserve the name. ~ A. A. Milne
What about the case of Karl Zinsmeister? Replacing Karl Rove as chief domestic advisor requires more than having the same name, he needs a certain skill with fabrication. The Z-man (So, what do you think Bush's nickname for him is?) rewrote a story about him published in a Syracuse, New York weekly newspaper and plopped it on his own website. When you do this, you have to be certain all the original copies have been destroyed. (Study the Memory Hole from 1984.) This lame effort is just getting him sued by the Syracuse New Times and "zinsmeistering" is a now a new word meaning, "The practice of reprinting news stories under the original author's bylines, but re-written to suit your purpose."
Oh, I used to tell lies but I've given it up. The field is overrun with amateurs. ~ back to Twain
An argument could be made, not by me, that George Bush had mastered the political lie. We went to war because of MWDs that were not there. The Iraqi people would greet us a liberators, celebrating our soldiers occupation with explosive devices. IEDs are just firecrackers that remove limbs. But, this was not mastery of lying so much as brazenness. His brutish, blustering practice has demeaned the art. That it has worked so well helps explain the popularity of velvet paintings of Elvis.
The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way. ~ Samuel Butler
When Republicans speak you feel insulted that they think you would believe their load of horseshit. They don't even try to plant a few flowers, fry a little bacon, something to cover the stench. It's like they don't care. Where is the creativity? Where is the pride of workmanship? If Republicans can't govern honestly they should at least learn to lie with panache.
The most outrageous lies that can be invented will find believers if a man only tells them with all his might. ~ Twain again
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1 comment:

Kvatch said...

It's like they don't care. Where is the creativity? Where is the pride of workmanship? If Republicans can't govern honestly they should at least learn to lie with panache.

This is symptomatic of a party that believes it's own press, and we see the evidence all the time--Policy positions that are quite insane delivered as if they are as sane as can be. Case in point Frist and Hastert's gasoline rebate.