Just Say Anything

When did it happen? Was there an exact point in time? Probably not.

It is now common for folks to say anything they want, no matter how it relates to truth, if it advantages them.

Politicians are the easiest marks. You may remember this one, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Then there was the presidential candidate who in the same speech said she would pull troops out of Iraq and she would leave troops in Iraq.

Sounds awful, right? Think about it in terms of yourself, however. The time the boss asked how you were doing on the project and you replied, “Great!” Sure, that was a way to avoid discussing the details of why you might be late. Also, the keyword is “might”, right?

Did Madison Avenue have something to do with it? How can we sell this stuff? Let’s tell them it will completely cure _______. Have you watched the TV show Mad Men? Some of us, me, lived through that period. Saw it happening. How many more blades do I need in my razor? Do I really believe that the first one makes the hair sit up, the second pulls it out a bit, and the third swipes it away? Then what does the fourth one do?

Did we somehow absorb something bad from these folks?

Lots of things are very complex and the truth is hard to find. We don’t want to appear uninformed so we make a statement which is more opinion that fact or truth.

Lots of “truths” are fortunately questioned, in some cases with great results. Cholesterol is a factor in heart disease but just how much of one? Maybe sugar and its tendency to create insulin spikes resulting in inflammation needs some attention. In our search for absolutes we often miss nuance.

Then there is law school. Now I have never been there so I am now in dangerous territory especially considering this topic. It does seem to me, though, that training folks to to win by saying or writing something just so, can lead to difficulties with getting to the truth.

As with much of what rattles around in my brain, there is no answer here. I do believe that having a personal dedication to including all of the data, acknowledging all viewpoints, trying always to get to that place that Bill O’Reilly calls the “No Spin Zone”, would be a good thing.

I keep trying, how about you?

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