Pretty (and Not So Pretty) Little Liars

  1. I've been reading The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye, by David Lagercrantz, and it seems he's finally come into his own voice, and this book doesn't read so much like Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fan-fiction. I'm actually rather enjoying it.
  2. Was struck by one quote I came across in the book, though:
  3. "If I've learned anything over the years, it's that the truth is generally a little unexpected, or even illogical, since we humans aren't entirely rational. Whereas lies, as a whole, tend to be consistent and comprehensive and often sound like a cliche – especially if the liars aren't very good." – Mikael Blomkvist
  4. I'm actually pretty good at spotting lies, although I'm not always good at deciding what to do with them. More times than I can remember, I've realized that someone to whom I'm speaking has told me a lie about something that, to me, is utterly devoid of interest. Obviously, it means something to them, and if it doesn't affect me or my life, I just let it go. We all have our secrets, after all.
  5. Sometimes people lie to cover up some sort of pain, or they lie because they're doing something of which they're ashamed. Under most circumstances, neither of these are my business, although sometimes I hear the lie like the sharp ring of a bell. My favorite lie is the lie of exaggeration, the one where the person talking is trying to puff up their chest and boast. I deal with artists, so I hear this one all the damn time. This one is a little sad, although I understand where it comes from. I've never met a braggart who wasn't nursing an insecurity.
  6. This is the way our president lies, and it's jarring. All politicians lie, of course, but they have a particular way of lying. They omit significant details, they talk around inconvenient truths, they dissemble and change the subject, but there's still some tacit understanding of what the truth is and where it's sitting. They lie in such a way as they can turn around and say you misinterpreted them. It's practically an art form. The president's lies are artless, and bald-faced. Everything is an exaggeration, everything is a superlative. There is never any detail or nuance ever. That sharp bell I hear when I hear normal lies? It makes it physically painful to listen to the president talk. I literally get headaches.
  7. In general, I'm not fond of lies, although I'm not naive and understand when someone is just trying to protect some small piece of themselves or someone else from harm. Like I said, we all have our secrets. But even those sorts of lies leave a festering wound which predators take advantage of. I've been listening to all of these stories of harassment and assault, and I've been listening to all of the personal and societal levers that created spaces for that sort of victimization to occur. And sometimes I listen to all of it unfold, and remember a small lie I heard told some time ago, some small thing I recognized as a defense mechanism, and let go, as it wasn't my business. And then I realize what they were protecting themselves from. Maybe I should have asked when I pegged something was wrong. I don't know, and I suspect I never will.
  8. But sometimes I think of the rot the predators have collectively inflicted on the world, and realize what the world could have been if we had dealt with them earlier. I look back, and look at women I know who have been effectively harassed out of journalism, or certain spheres of the arts, and I wonder what we've lost. And for what? Fuck if I know.
  9. David Brooks had a good column in The New York Times the other day, about how this sort of corruption is eating the Republican Party from the inside out.
  10. Writes Brooks: "'What shall it profit a man,' Jesus asked, 'if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?' The current Republican Party seems to not understand that question. Donald Trump seems to have made gaining the world at the cost of his soul his entire life’s motto."
  11. I wish I could say he was alone in that, or that the rot is limited to the Republican Party, but it's pretty much everywhere. Our entire culture is corrosive at the moment – sexaul abuse, racial injustice, institutional poverty, neglect, neglect, neglect and more – and really the only thing that gives me hope at all is hearing people risk telling their truths, denying that toxicity more and more places to spread.
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