TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION*

To see or not to see, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to look past
The slings and arrows of outrageous tweets
And excuse the lies and insults of our imperial Don,
So long as such doth advance our noble cause
And lead us back to the glory of righteous times,
Devoutly to be wish’d. Ay, there’s the rub:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’opressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the unworthy spurns,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus devil-deals doth make cowards of us all
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
Lie paraded, bare and exposed for all but us to see.

*with appreciation, but no apologies, to Shakespeare

 

 

 

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IT ISN’T BECAUSE IT ISN’T (VARIATIONS ON A THEME)

I don’t see it as a safety issue because it isn’t.” –Bill Kaeppner, president of Ohio Motorized Trails Assn., speaking in favor of the State Division of Forestry’s proposal to allow all-purpose vehicle trails to cross hiking trails in Ohio State Parks

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Reading the foregoing quote in a local newspaper article a few weeks ago, the possible applications of its incontrovertible logic struck me like the twaddle in a Trump tweet. Think of the implications for settling all manner of opposing positions. Think of all the cross-purposes which could be brought to a screeching stop, like trail traffic in a forest, by a simple red light at a crossing intersection. Friends, Romans, Fishermen, the solution is as obvious as the nose on your face: IT ISN’T BECAUSE IT ISN’T. End of de bait.

Let us take a look at a few of of Trump’s favorite declarations as examples of settling matters by simple fiat (it is or isn’t, because he says it is or isn’t):

WITCH HUNT — which is to say, do I look like a witch? (well, he’s got us there–no self-respecting witch would look like him)

THERE’S NO COLLUSION — and even if there was, it ain’t illegal. (just ask Putin–your Russian to judgment)

FAKE NEWS — any news not viewed through the fair and balanced lens of Fox News. (not to crow, but the allegory here is a piece of cake):

CHOKED LIKE A DOG —in other words, a loser. (spoken like a man who’s the only President never to have owned a dog since McKinley)

BELIEVE ME — would I lie? (like a sleeping dog, Donald–like a sleeping dog)

LIAR, LIAR, RANTS ON FIRE

One of my readers, who is obviously a glutton for punishment, recently expressed disappointment that I haven’t posted more of my poems lately. At the risk of triggering that old axiom BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, I thank her for having inspired me to address the deficiency thusly:

DECEIT DON’T STAND

As the twig is bent,
so grows the tree.
As the die is cast,
so shall it be.

If these be true,
why is it wise:
The Donald gets a pass
when he tells those lies?

Of course, I should also thank the President, without whose daily rants my inspiration for this poem would doubtless lie dormant. And now for a word from the truly wise about lies:

Carlyle said, “A lie cannot live”; it shows he did not know how to tell them. –Mark Twain

A man comes to believe in the end the lies he tells about himself to himself. –George Bernard Shaw

I admire liars, but surely not liars so clumsy they cannot fool even themselves. –H. L. Mencken

Pretending that you believe a lie is also a lie. –Arthur Schnitzler

If at first you’re not believed, lie, lie again. –Evan Esar

Not sure why the video is black. Maybe because the lies it laments aren’t white ones. But the sound is clear, and the voice shines through the darkness.

 

 

 

LIAR, LIAR, RANTS ON FIRE

All sin is a kind of lying.
— St. Augustine

Would that some of those ranters who have been casting “liar” charges all over the political landscape lately pause to consider the real meaning of the word. My dictionary defines “liar” simply as someone who tells a lie, which is in turn defined as a false statement purposefully put forward as truth. The key word here is “purposefully.” When either left or right wing purists put forward false statements as truth, do they do it purposefully, or do they believe that their “lies” are the truth?

I see idealogues as true believers who truly believe what they’ve been led to believe. If so, the average “amateur” true believers aren’t liars when they say what they say (as opposed to “professional” true believers who not only believe, but have no qualms about, shall we charitably say, stretching the truth for their cause).

If we reflect on the literal meaning of “liar”, we may be more careful about putting that label on those who say things we find obnoxious. Chances are they not only believe those things, but they have been pathetically misled by their “professional” soulmates.

As journalist and writer Walter Lippman pointed out over 80 years ago (and which is still true today), public opinion is easily manipulated and “the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning….the results of accurate investigation.” Thus, once an ideologue is manipulated by half truths and untruths, (s)he is usually manipulated for good (or should I say, for bad).

Have a good (or should I say, bad) day.