Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just My Opinion, Vol. 2

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies...

It often puzzles me when I hear about dumb criminals or people getting caught in embarrasing situations and the excuses they come up with. It doesn't surprise me that the criminal element often gets caught doing dumb things. I mean, that's probably why they are criminals to begin with; they are too stupid or lazy to make a legitamate living. Things like bank robbers writing hold-up notes on their own deposit slips or burglers dropping their wallets at crime scenes make me chuckle and shake my head. However, its the more legitimate segment of the population that really leaves me in awe when they get caught lying or doing something they shouldn't.

Recently, two Georgia (the state, not the embattled former Soviet republic) residents recently caused a stir when they claimed to have found the body of Bigfoot! Well, maybe not The Bigfoot. I don't think there's like just one, I think the popular opinion in the Bigfoot ethusiast population is that Bigfoot is a species... By the way, should Bigfoot be capitalized? I'm thinking not... ANYWAY... These two guys, one a police officer and the other a corrections officer, released photos, videos, and scheduled news conferences to reveal the "body" of bigfoot. They even went so far as to "preserve" the body by freezing it in a solid block of ice in a chest-type freezer... Not surprisingly, the skeptics and the media came out in force to see their discovery.

Well, through a highly technical process known as "letting the ice thaw", the body was revealed to be simply this halloween costume.

As laughable as this is, it really makes me question the planning behind this "discovery". Did these guys actually think that no one would think to thaw out the body? Did they think that the rubbery costume and hollow mask would be mistaken for the body of this mystical creature? Just a tiniest of research revealed this whole thing to be a really poorly orchestrated hoax put on by two formerly respected members of their community...

So, why would people present lies as facts, when it's so easy in this time of instant journalism and the many, many media outlets to do just a tad bit of research to disprove them? And don't be fooled, this practice isn't limited to doofuses and bigfoot hunters. Politicians have fallen in this trap as well...

Most famously, self-proclaimed "not gay" senator Larry Craig from Idaho was arrested in a Minneapolis airport men's room while attempting to solicit an undercover officer for some hanky-panky. Larry claimed he was simply "picking up a piece of paper" from the floor and that his foot might have touched the neighbor's foot in the stall next to him because he's a "fairly wide guy."

Even though Craig claimed to be completely innocent, he plead guilty to disorderly conduct in hopes that the issue would go away "quickly and expeditiously". Unfortunately for Larry, these things don't go away quitely when they involve elected officials. Shortly afterward, 8 seperate men claimed to have had 'encounters' with Craig. Larry continues to fight his guilty plea and has been recently admonished by the Senate for using campaign contributions to pay for his legal fees...

While the facts in the Larry Craig example may be a "he said / he said" fight, other examples of frivolous lies have popped up in the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton was exposed embellishing her trip to Bosnia as First Lady when she claimed to "...remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." Unfortunately for Hillary, there were quite a few people there to see what happened. And some of them actually had, *shocker*, CAMERAS!

Not to mention, Hillary's story was debunked by, of all people, stand-up comedian and fan-of-god-awful-shirts, Sinbad, who was also on the trip to entertain the troops for the USO. That's him in the blue coat behind Hillary and Chelsea. And below sporting what appears to be Rorschach test shapes in pretty colors...

Finally, in recent days, some of the best story-lines of the new Republican VP candidate have come into question. Upon her introduction to all of America (outside of Alaska), John McCain touted Palin's fight to kill the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." Again, simple digging has discovered that she actually supported the bridge saying at the time, "The money that's been appropriated for the project, it should remain available for a link, an access process as we continue to evaluate the scope and just how best to just get this done. This link is a commitment to help Ketchikan expand its access, to help this community prosper. I think we're going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project."

McCain also touted Palin's devotion to cutting government waste when he announced last Friday, "You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay -- and made a profit!" Again, simple research by anyone has discovered that the plane was not sold on ebay. It was listed several times with no takers... and finally sold to an enterpreneur for $2.1 million. Great! Except it was originally purchased for $2.7 million... McCain must be using that "fuzzy math" Bush discussed in 2000 to determine that's a profit.

To me, it's not the dishonestly that's baffling in these examples... It's two other things:

1) It's the lie that's told that really doesn't need to be told... To lie for the sake of lying.

2) It's the profound stupidity of the liar not realizing how easily the lie will be shown to be just that: a lie.

So are people naturally dishonest? Nah. Little kids learn to lie at an early age to try and avoid punishment. Most learn their lessons and grow out of this habit. Some don't.

Maybe it comes down to something my mother-in-law has said many times: little boys who lie grow up to be weathermen.

I guess you can add to that politicians and Bigfoot hunters...

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