Lying In America

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in our society. Lying has become acceptable. Even encouraged. Witness.

In this week’s New York Times top stories:

“A Race to Be First to Break Someone’s Heart, but It’s Only a Game” – an article about the newest reality tv show, in which

“a model is given a chance to break the hearts of ladies’ men before they break hers, appears to be devoted exclusively to savoring the glories of the words “player” and “game.”

Dawn, the club-hopping model, sets the tone: “If I get one of these players to fall for me, I’m the player. If I fall for them, I could get played.” She dilates: “I’m a player, and when you’re a player you have game. And I’m good at the game.”…

… Her explanation of the show, in fact, is something of a reality masterpiece:

“A player is someone who really isn’t looking to settle down with anybody, but he’s so charismatic and charming that you don’t even care that they’re with other people. You just want to be with them, and have fun. The tricky part is that sometimes someone’s game can get so good that you actually fall for them, and you’ll end up getting your heart broken, and you’ll end up getting played. And that’s what this game is all about.” New York Times, By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN, Published: August 3, 2004

So the rallying cry “play or be played” is simply “lie or be lied to.”

The concept of this show bothered me, but then I read this article, summarized here:

Escape A Date – “If you’re going out on a date, you can arrange to have your cellphone ring at a specified time. The call guides you through a script that makes it sound, to the gullible party across the table, as if you’ve got to rush off. Think of it as a wake-up call with benefits. If the date’s going well, just don’t answer.

Dating has always been a game of sorts, but the gaming has gotten more serious. Witness “The Player,” a new reality show about competitive heartbreaking on UPN. Those contestants could really use the Escape-A-Date service, which Cingular calls an added “functionality,” except that their dates probably already suspect that they’re being gamed – a new euphemism for being lied to.” The New York Times, Opinion, August 5, 2004

Excuse me, you have to have a third party service get you out of a date that isn’t going well? Whatever happened to honesty? The “It’s nice to meet you, but I don’t think this is working out.” Or, “I enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think we should continue seeing each other.” Whatever happened to accountability? I abhor the fact that this new service exists, and, that it will probably be quite successful.

People. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. What’s so hard about that?

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