“A liar ought to have a good memory.”
True. They’ll be found out pretty quickly if they aren’t good at it. Trump pathologically lies as his daughter takes a new position and signs documents in front of the media. Somehow, he got good enough at lying that he made a huge amount of money doing it and now he’s rather untouchable. Everything he says can be a lie and everyone can know it is a lie, yet this doesn’t stop him from doing anything. I mean, he holds one of the most powerful positions in the world. He got it by lying and, so far, he continues to hold it while lying despite calls for impeachment. Not a good role model to be sure. It’s an interesting thing to puzzle how someone like Trump can lie so successfully and yet most other people get found out and stopped long before they ever reach some sort of celebrity status. Is it morals or ethics that separate most of us from people like Trump or did he sell his soul? I mean, the demons in Supernatural seem to have more heart.
I’m not a fan of lying. On the few occasions that I’ve done it, I noticed it just creates more work for me. And the truth is that I have so many other things I’d rather do than keep up some charade.
As a storyteller, it can be a fun thing to write into a character though. Say you have a character who decides the sky is red. This is how he sees it. Eventually they’ll be questioned about it and have to produce some sort of documentation. They could do talk shows about how they see and all the while it’s a lie. You have the freedom to continue making each moment full of tension and make the reader/viewer wonder if they will be found out. We want to know how far the character can go before they are found out.
The last time I lied it was to protect myself but also to get a couple to talk to each other. I had found myself in the middle of the two of them and, given I was once involved with one of them, it was an immensely uncomfortable place for me to be. I lost a friend because of it. Even lies with good intentions are lies and someone always gets hurt. Hindsight tells me I could’ve handled it better, but sometimes one just reacts. I didn’t lie about any of the experiences I had in dating the person, but only that I was okay talking about any of it. Sometimes it’s just better not to know about someone’s past anyway as there’s no guarantee they’ll be the same with you.
This is why I don’t feel the need to talk ad nauseam about my past marriage nor know everything that happened in my partner’s past. What is more important is knowing what they want in life and if we can possibly build a future together. If they don’t want kids ever, there’s no possibility of a future and it’s good to find this out early. It doesn’t mean I necessarily want kids with this particular person. That will depend how compatible we are in other ways. If they’re a smoker and/or hate all physical activity and have no interest in health, we won’t be a match. If they are usually more negative than positive and spend their days whining about problems instead of solving them, we aren’t a match. If they prefer to spend their free time tearing me down, they better get the fuck away from me.
I think one of the most annoying things about being a writer with a past in acting is that people assume I must be great at lying. As if entertainers have no integrity. As if we don’t actually feel anything that isn’t some character we’ve acted or written. As if we aren’t actually human.
I hear this exclaimed often after someone meets a celebrity, “He’s just like a regular person!” I shake my head when I hear it. Celebrities are people. Most of them are people just like you. They just followed their dreams and worked their ass off on a different set of skills than you. Very few people are naturally gifted. They all have to work at it. JK Rowling was 32 when she published Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Alan Rickman was also in his 30s when he began his acting career. Carrie was Stephen King’s first published novel, but the fourth he had written. And King had been writing since he was a child. It wasn’t until he was married that his writing career took off.
I’m getting caught up on Bates Motel lately and there was an episode where Dylan goes for a job interview. Emma’s dad encourages him to lie because his distribution experience is in an illegal industry. Dylan chooses the path of integrity. He’s tired of making bad decisions in life and wants to be a better person.
Are we doomed to live in a world where people like Trump can do whatever they want without recourse? Will there always be another Trump or Putin waiting in the wings who’ll tell us what we want to hear?
Well, I have other things I need to do today, so my pondering must end here.