|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|All Lies, All the Time
Monday, April 14th, 2008
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? Send a letter to the editor.|
|Nixon once declared “I am not a crook” and of course he was lying. In fact everything that came out of Nixon’s mouth was a lie, which made him impossible to listen to for all but connoisseurs of mendacity who collect fibs for a hobby.
Nixon has been far surpassed by George W. Bush. In his latest radio address, available for the strong of stomach at whitehouse.gov, even his lies contain lies. He manages to conflate Al Qaeda with Iran and Iraq, all the while misrepresenting the present state and future prospects of the latter country and the intentions and aspirations of the former. A double lie wrapped up in a double lie. Mr. Bush may not have learned much in his nearly eight years in office, but his skill at delivering whoppers with a straight face is unquestionable. Only a masochist, or a very deaf person, can now sit through a presidential speech.
John McCain is an equally effective liar but his technique is different. He’ll toss a pebble of truth into a well of lies, and grin as the ripples confuse and distract. He admitted to not knowing as much about “the issue of economics” as he should, which is true. Then he outlined an economic plan that amply demonstrated a profound ignorance of economics and pretended to believe in it, which was a lie. Then he denied ever saying he was unschooled in the dismal science (to Tim Russert back in January), which was another lie. If you’re tricked by the initial misdirection, you might just overlook the subsequent falsehoods. If not you just can’t listen to him.
Hillary Clinton is a practiced liar but her lies vary greatly in quality. The Bosnia sniper fire lie was pitiful, easily exposed, and an embarrassment to any student of the art. But her “I’m experienced, ready on day one, fully vetted” lie has gained a certain measure of respect through sheer repetition. Indeed, she’s adopted the Lenin-Goebbels principle: A lie told often enough becomes truth. Last night at Messiah College in Pennsylvania she must have said, “Senator Obama is elitist and out of touch” or variants thereof at least half a dozen times in the opening moments of her interview. All the while repeating that the senator of course must speak for himself. Forget the voice and the outfits; it’s Hillary Clinton’s reflexive mendacity that makes her so hard to take.
Rex Stout wrote that you can always tell when a person is lying by the contraction of the throat muscles; it takes more effort to push out a lie than to tell the truth. In the case of professionals like Bush, McCain, and Clinton the technique is irrelevant. They make it easy for us. Since you can count on every word being a lie, there’s no need to try to distinguish when they’re telling the truth. And since there’s no value in a pack of lies, why on earth listen to them at all?
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A NOTE TO READERS
There was nothing new at The Nossiter Net between March 3rd and April 26th, 2007, nearly eight weeks. The reason: tech sabotage. Yahoo Geocities, the host for this site, denied access for the entire period. At one point, they even managed to lose all the files. In many discussions with Yahoo staff, no clear explanation was forthcoming. No one seemed able to fix the problem. Ruling out the possibility of Dubbya’s revenge, I finally wrote to Mr. Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc and described the ordeal the page had undergone since the beginning of March. A week later, a helpful Yahooo engineer named Jason called. He had my letter before him. Though he couldn’t do the repairs on on the spot, he promised a fix by the next day. That was April 26th, nearly two months after shutting me down in the first place.
The Nossiter Net apologizes, which is more than I can say for Yahoo Geocities.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2008
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