Published 12:00 am Monday, October 25, 1999

Lee Dresselhaus / L’Observateur / October 25, 1999

So..truth, they say, is stranger than fiction. Well, I don’t know just whosaid that originally, but they missed a big fat point about truth.

We don’t always want to hear the truth.

But, you say, of course we do. We require the truth. We demand the truth.We deserve the truth. No we don’t. The only time we really like the truth iswhen it’s what we want or need to hear, or if it fits our needs of the moment. If it is an unpleasant truth or it intrudes on our picture of howthings should be as opposed to how they really are, well, we can live without it. And, most of all, if it contradicts the veil of PoliticalCorrectness we’re forced to cover ourselves with these days, well then, we just don’t want to hear it.

Case in point: Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Governor of Minnesota. When thevoters of Minnesota elected a pro wrestler to their statehouse all we heard was that he is a “tell it like it is” kind of guy. They set the world ofpolitics on its collective ear by putting him in office, and it seemed they were proud of having a blue collar guy instead of some professional politician as their Governor. Who trusts professional politicians? We allknow they never tell the truth, right? And then, the unthinkable.

He told the truth about how he felt regarding some issues, one of which was that most sacred of cows, religion. During an interview in Playboymagazine he said something to the effect that organized religion is for the weak-minded.

Hoo, boy. Even as I write this there are lynch mobs forming, and recall isthe word of the day. It seems that telling it like it is only includes tellingit like we want to hear it. Despite whatever we say to the contrary, thetruth is definitely not high on our list of Favorite Things. It’s amazing. Wehowl when politicians tell us half-truths, or even out and out lies, yet when one of them says something like this, stupid as it may have been to say it, we want to string him up for expressing his honest opinion.

Here’s a whopper. We all heard Clinton say he didn’t inhale. Did anybody outthere who is not a full-time resident of The Disney Planet believe that? No. We knew flat darn well he was lying and we said so. Guess what? Hegot elected anyway. Now let’s play “Stranger Than Fiction.” If he had beenhonest from the beginning, from the very first time the question came up about this issue and said, “Hell yes I inhaled. Drank the bong water, too!,”would we have elected him? No way. It would have been a truth mostAmerican voters could not have lived with. The vote count would have been20-odd million to three. So we accepted what we knew to be a blatant lie,and not even a good one at that. And just look at what we got stuck with,but that’s another subject.

I’ve harped on this quite a bit lately, but if George W. Bush admitted theuse of cocaine, would he be elected? Nope, not a chance. Yet we holler thathe’s being evasive and won’t answer the question. We want honesty! I get amental image of Bush living under a bridge with a bottle in a brown paper bag and wearing ragged a T-shirt that says, “At Least I Was Honest.”That’s how much we appreciate honesty. He needs dental work and a shavein my image, too, not to mention a bath. Just thought I’d throw that inthere.

The fact is that we’re more concerned with convenience and correctness rather than truth, and not just in politics. We accept untruthfulness aspart of out existence. Television advertising doesn’t always tell the truth,the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but we get over it quickly when we’ve been duped into buying the Ripco Apple Peeler And Dog Groomer All- In-One kit. That guy with the big voice on late night TV said it really,really works. Poor Rover. He’ll never be the same. Then it ends up in yourattic with your Acme Boot Polisher and your Billy Bob Nojob fishing lure that was supposed to have the fish begging to surrender with just the threat of its use.

My point is that we don’t really have room to criticize someone for telling the truth, even if it is just the truth about his opinion, when we let so many lies and half-truths slip by us every day, and maybe even allow ourselves the luxury of the occasional fib. If it’s convenient for us, thatis. What? Not you? How many of you guys have told your wife lately that you don’t like her new hairdo, or that she looks just a little fat in that dress? Be honest, now. I’m sure she wants the truth.

Lee Dresselhaus is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher