The English language has a healthy share of euphemisms for lying. Fabrication. Falsification. Making stuff up. Inoperative statements. Alternative facts. Big fat fibs. Untruths. Puffery. Flummery. Fast food advertising. NFL owner profit/loss statements.
But they all mean the same thing: saying out loud things you know are not true.
No matter which polite term you prefer, America in the middle of a lying renaissance. And we have President Donald Trump to thank for perfecting the practice of public prevarication to an art form. He is the Picasso of hogwash.
Throughout his career, Trump has deflected trouble by waving a bright shiny object, throwing it into a corner and yelling, “Hey what’s that over there?”
In the business world The Donald erected huge TRUMP signs before reneging on promises and stiffing contractors. On the campaign trail he shot out baseless allegations like a T-shirt cannon at minor league baseball game.
Now, as president, cascades of groundless gibberish flow from him like rainwater off the Oroville Dam spillway.
Every politician lies, and both Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon got caught in whoppers, but not until the end of their second terms. Trump has rocketed out of the gate as the least credible federal office-holder in history. It’s like being called the scariest clown at a circus convention.
First, Trump claimed his inauguration was the most attended ever, when photos clearly reveal half of those who assembled in 2009. Who you going to believe — me, or your lying eyes?
He then accused 3,000,000 nonexistent people of voting illegally, the same exact amount he lost the popular vote by. Alternative facts are kissing cousins to alternative math. 2 plus 2 is whatever he says it is. And 0 + 0 is 3,000,000.
Recently, the new president accused the old president, Barack Hussein Obama, of wiretapping Trump Tower. With no proof. At all. Even Trump’s own staff were quoted as saying, “Hunh, what?” Then were force marched onto television to lob sparkly Christmas ornaments at weekend anchors and production assistants.
James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, which is starting to sound like an oxymoron, denied that any surveillance was authorized. But chief aide Kellyanne Conway suggested that perhaps it was done through partisan kitchen appliances dabbling in espionage.
One reason Trump gets away with his fables and fakery is because the media has the attention span of a hover of hummingbirds in a green house on blossom day. Although people are questioning the provenance of his charges, nobody’s talking about his Russian connections anymore. Mission Accomplished.
It’s a genius strategy that can work in real life as well. Think grade school and get creative.
» Tell the boss the report is overdue because it was eaten by a pack of wild Tanzanian boars that have overrun your back yard. Even if you live in a high rise.
» Caught holding someone else’s wallet? You weren’t stealing, but rather protecting their possessions from other unscrupulous persons by hiding the money in your pocket for safekeeping.
» Does your spouse have naked photos of you in the arms of another? Total misunderstanding: this unfortunate person was suffering from hypothermia and you were simply applying life-restoring, body heat. Internally.
Accountability is soooooo … 2015. As Nike used to say, “Just Do It.”
— Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here for videos and a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, Elect to Laugh: 2016, appearing every Tuesday at The Marsh in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @willdurst and click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.