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Friday, June 26, 2009

Lie to me, please

Have you ever noticed how pervasive lying has become in our culture?

Whether it's mass media advertising, political speech, or a sign announcing a new home development or "office park", we seem to be bombarded daily with insincere, vacuous messages or outright lies which try to re-frame our perceptions of reality.

Charles Eisenstein has written a very interesting article on this topic entitled, "The Ubiquitous Matrix of Lies"
(hat tip: Chris Nelder). Here's an excerpt from that piece:

"Increasingly, words don't mean anything. In politics, campaigning candidates make statements that flatly contradict their actions and policies, and no one seems to object or even care. It is not the routine dissembling of political figures that is striking, but rather our near-complete indifference to it. We are as well almost completely inured to the vacuity of advertising copy, the words of which increasingly mean nothing at all to the reader.

Does anyone really believe that GE "brings good things to life?" Or that a housing development I passed today - "Walnut Crossing" - actually has any walnut trees or crossings? From brand names to PR slogans to political code-words, the language of the media that inundates modern life consists almost wholly of subtle lies, misdirection, and manipulation.

We live in a ubiquitous matrix of lies, a sea of mendacity so pervasive that it is nearly invisible. Because we are lied to all the time, in ways so subtle they are beneath conscious notice, even the most direct lies are losing their power to shock us."

When was the last time you felt you were being lied to, implicitly or explicitly? Has it become harder to keep track of all the misleading messages and signals that we encounter in our daily lives? Please read "Matrix of Lies" and share your experience with us.

Related articles and posts:

1. George Orwell: "Politics and the English Language" - Mt. Holyoke.

2. Defining Bullshit - Timothy Noah for Slate.