Do you remember the film Liar, Liar? It starred Jim Carrey as a man whose son's birthday wish was that his dad would stop lying.
It's an interesting concept isn't it lying? I mean we all do it. To other people ("no I didn't notice that the bin was full otherwise I would have emptied it!"), to ourselves ("I'm not drunk, I've barely had anything to drink"), to the stranger on the street ("no I'm sorry I don't have any change") In fact lying is a part of life. When does a lie become more sinister though? When do we cross the line?
Recently I've been in receipt of a couple of lies, and to be clear I'm not talking about the regular student lies ("my alarm didn't go off", "TFL is a nightmare", "of course I've learnt my lines"), but much more considered lies. Now as I wrote in an earlier blog I believe that the concept of truth is complicated. We can all have our own interpretation of an event. We can all believe that we're saying our truth - so then what constitutes a lie?
I think that a wilful misrepresentation of someone would constitute a lie. Blaming others for your own shortcomings; but then here's the rub - how do you defend yourself against a lie? It invariably comes down to your word against somebody else's? Who's to say which person is telling the truth? How do you protect your reputation without sounding pathetic?
When I first opened the college I got into lots of internet forum discussions about my plans for this new concept in drama training, and even though I was sure that I knew what I was talking about - I got randomly called a liar. Just a few months ago, a similar thing happened, and it didn't matter how many facts I presented to substantiate my 'case' (in this instance I was saying how Drama UK would be folding any day, and I was attempting to reassure someone that I had never attempted to apply for membership. However this other person was adamant that I must have applied....not only that but also that I therefore must have taken an anti-Drama UK stance because we had been unsuccessful in our (non existent) application) the person that I was discussing it with was 100% sure that they were right??
We're currently in the middle of the mother of all 'he said, she said' lies at the moment with the ongoing saga of the IICSA. The infamous inquiry which was supposed to be the government finally truly investigating all the allegations of institutional child sex abuse in the UK. Well at this moment in time it's reading like a workshop for a new Ray Cooney farce. I mean they can't even find someone to chair the damn thing effectively. Evidence is being dismissed or in many cases lost, before things can be investigated. Then worse of all, slowly one by one, the support groups are leaving the inquiry - and they're leaving because they just know - that once again their word is not going to be heard. They are going to be called out as liars.
I've seen a National organisation be embroiled in a scandal, and I've seen how effectively they managed to sweep it under the carpet. Accusations weren't even investigated. Evidence was lost. The media wouldn't touch it, and injunctions were being issued left, right and centre. The establishment (whoever 'they' might be) looked after their own. What they definitely didn't do, was to look after the interest of the 'child(ren)'.
This isn't lying though is it? This is denial? Or is it something much more sinister that's rippling under the fabric of our society? Is this a reality - but one that nobody wants to face?
What society needs is a big old BS detector. Someone needs to go onto Dragon's Den with a contraption that's more compact than a regular metal detector, but is as accurate as one of the really expensive ones. The polygraph can be beaten (. . . I mean someone should really tell those people on the Jeremy Kyle show about some tricks/drugs that could help them to beat that little 'ole machine) - so a BS detector is the answer.
With that in mind, we could all stick with the rubbish everyday lies. The ones that we shouldn't say - but we do ("sorry I was late, the bus didn't turn up" aka "I just wanted to finish watching a really good programme" or "just checking that you got my email, it's just that my server's been playing up" aka "I emailed you days ago, why the hell aren't you answering me?"), but when it came to the important things like protecting a person's reputation . . . or the other side of that coin exposing the case of the paedophile rings that are being given a tacet permission to continue in our society. . . . the ability to truly trash a person's reputation. . . we simply turn on the BS detector, project the findings on a huge display, and all move on with our lives, with lessons learnt, and the appropriate punishment given.