Your Mind

It’s a World Full of Liars And It’s All Your Fault

By January 18, 2016 0

There are a few things in this world I trust. They are: my 3 dogs, my fiancé, and my Dad.

That’s literally it.

I go to the store and buy a new sweater, and I don’t trust the price tag. I assume when I get up to the register, it’ll be marked way up, or marked way down, and I just take my chances and hope for the best.

I watch the news and I don’t trust the headline, the pictures, the newscasters, the interviewer, the interviewee, the information delivered, or the angles twisted.

I watch or hear commercials and ads and just immediately discount any facts they try to spew me. If you’re trying to convince me you “are,” then no, you instantly are not 100 pounds skinnier than you were 6 months ago, you do not provide the fastest internet in the nation, and you will not make my house smell fresh and clean for up to 30 days.

If my guard is up so high on a daily basis, I wonder how the world keeps functioning; it must mean that something’s working, and that everyone else is delightfully and ignorantly being scammed along for the ride.

For example: Once, I left a negative review once on Etsy. My item never showed up in the mail and the seller never responded to my emails, and a refund was nowhere in sight. As soon as I left a negative review, I was contacted with a plea to please remove my scathing story and he promised to submit a refund as soon as possible.

Why, on Earth, would I remove my review? The fact that he decided to finally pay attention to my problem did not discount the fact that the problem existed in the first place. I would be happy to add to the review, “Seller finally contacted and processed refund,” but fixing a problem does not mean it never occurred in the first place; it does not warrant a lie that all was good, no troubles were had.

True story: I never took down my review, and I never received a refund.

The same thing happened with an Amazon purchase I made. A vendor wouldn’t accept my returned dress until I sent them a picture of me in it in order to prove that it did not fit. Really? Seriously? Bam – log on, alert potential buyers of this absurd return policy. Of course, they accepted my return immediately, because Amazon is god-like and keeps their vendors on a short leash, but I received countless requests to remove the bad press. All ignored. Why would I lie and say my experience was delightful and trouble-free when it was a literal and somewhat offensive nightmare?

You can’t handle the truth: your service sucked. Get over it.

And yes, you guessed it, here’s what I’m really getting at: politicians. Whichever candidate actually makes it across the finish line in the race for the White House this time around will be so slandered, their image so slurred and blurred and manipulated by media by the time they get there, that there’s hardly any hope for anything real and progressive to come of it all. In a world where a single statement can be exploited a million times over, it can just as easily be retracted, brushed over, and apologized for, as if it never happened in the first place. And what’s worse, we all fall for it.

This past November, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi published an article with possibly the greatest headline of all time, “America Is Too Dumb for TV News.”

Taibbi recounts events from the 2015 political race, like Trump’s claim that he “watched” people in Jersey cheering at the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11, Ben Carson’s numerous factual blunders, and Carly Fiorina’s insistence that she viewed an apparently nonexistent video involving feminists and the harvesting of fetal brains (which is unfortunate, because recently she dubbed Trump the “Kim Kardashian of politics” because they’re “both famous for being famous, and the media plays along,” and that’s probably the truest statement any of these candidates have made yet).

“Politicians are quickly learning that they can say just about anything and get away with it,” Taibbi writes. “Along with vindication, apology and suffering, there now exists a fourth way forward for the politician spewing whoppers: Blame the backlash on media bias and walk away a hero.”

I’m taking the low road here: I’m blaming the media bias and hoping to walk away a hero. But I’m also blaming you for not taking the world with a little less sincerity. We have gotten used to taking everything we hear and see as the truth, whether or not it is a jaded version of it; how do you know that review hasn’t been edited for politeness? How do you know that political figure is spitting even an ounce of truth? How do you know that article hasn’t been paraphrased and re-written for shock value, entertainment, popularity?

I literally cannot turn on the television without realizing I’ve been told a hundred lies a second, from Photoshop, to prepared speeches, to re-touching, to twisted headlines, to the absurd reality show that the media attempts to make out of every day life. My greatest fear is that we’ll all grow up believing the lies; they’re obviously working, to some extent, if they’re persisting.

Don’t be the America that is too dumb for TV news; TV news can hardly get any dumber. Don’t censor yourself, don’t cover up the facts; question, retort, and act in earnest, even if it’s something as simple as not changing an online product review, or not giving in to gimmicky advertising. After all, it begs the question: if we can’t handle the truth, do we deserve it in the first place?