Sunday, January 08, 2012


When I was growing up, and even now, my Mom would say that the thing she most couldn't stand was lying. She hated lying, and indeed, if she caught me out in a lie, I got punished for sure.

Now, there's a man here, and there's a story she LOVES about him. It has to do with making people think that he has cancer, though he doesn't, and thus things are done which convenience him greatly and inconvenience 100+ other people somewhat.

My Mom thinks his doing this is witty and wonderful, and doesn't seem to connect it at all to the lying she hates.

It's not like this is a story of some poor guy sticking it to "the man" because this guy is/was way more privileged than most.

I don't get it.


  1. Maybe she likes being "in" on the lie, or doesn't mind it if she's not the one being lied to. You're right, though -- it doesn't make sense.

  2. It doesn't make sense, but maybe she feels as though he's "sticking it to the man" in some way, even though he IS the man in terms of privilege.

  3. I have a theory about lying & who is allowed to lie in hierarchical structures. Your story supports it nicely.

    Those lower in the hierarchy are not allowed to lie to those higher in the hierarchy -- the disempowered are taught that lying is the one true evil and they should never, ever do it. This is because the ability to manipulate language is a source of power, often the only source of power available to those very low in the hierarchy.

    Those in power, OTOH, are allowed to lie as much as they like. It's sometimes even FUNNY when they lie, in fact. (See Santa Claus, for a trivial example, but more serious examples abound.) Even when it's not funny, it's not treated as a serious issue. (See GW Bush and his lies. Not taken seriously -- why?)

    There's no need to police the language of those high in the power structure, because there's no possibility that they will attempt to wrest power illicitly (i.e. via
    the manipulation of reality with language). So it's okay -- maybe even kind of cute -- when they lie. They're just playing, see? Whereas when those who are disempowered lie, it's a true threat, or a potential one.

    That's my theory.

    This guy who is jerking people around by pretending to have cancer, OTOH, is a real tool.

  4. Fie, Not being lied to could be it?

    Undine, That could partly be it.

    Delagar, Great analysis. And yep, the lie about cancer is especially galling.