Gepetto, Jiminy and the Blue Fairy
by Paul Wolf
I can tell a lie, and so can you. In fact, lying is often preferable to the truth. It's good manners to lie. It takes maturity to withhold the truth.
Myprimetime.com readers who have voiced their love of a good lie on our discussion boards agree. They think Radical Honesty author Brad Blanton is headed for a life with only the cold hard truth to keep him warm.
Blanton claims that we are all duty-bound to speak our minds at all times — not just for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone on the receiving end of our radical honesty, including the obese woman in front of you at the check-out line, or the co-worker with the grating voice.
"I recommend that you hurt people's feelings, but that you stay with them until they get over it," says Blanton.
Let's see how long your boss will stay with you after you've insulted his wife at the company party.
"Eventually this person is going to realize that they've hurt everyone they care about or like and they will be literally alone," writes myprimetime.com reader Riverdale.
No doubt, alienation is the eventual outcome of practicing pure truthfulness. Civilized existence is all about lying. Cooperation requires we swallow our pride, turn the other cheek, let things slide and let others have the last word.
"Children don't know how to hold their tongue and it is something they are taught as they get older as they learn restraint," says marriage and family therapist Cindy McCrea.
She explains that honesty dwells in a field of checks and balances. Speaking the truth is like any other action that has impact, and its impact must be weighed.
While Blanton makes a strong case that dishonesty can cause stress, muddy true communication and even hamper personal growth, his argument falls apart when he fails to distinguish between acceptable lying and unacceptable lying.
We tell acceptable lies every day, and are probably the better for it. We tell them when our agenda is more important than the truth. Like when Al Gore, in his first debate with George Bush, said he never questioned his rival's qualifications for president, "only his policies." Gore then went on to talk about Bush's policies.
Was it a lie? Of course. He had questioned Bush's qualifications. But he didn't want to waste his two minutes on name calling when the policy differences were more relevant to the occasion.
What about sex? Now there's something worth lying about from time to time. Take Elizabeth Hurley who recently recanted her quote in Talk magazine, the one in which she says that ex-lover Hugh Grant was "less than adequate" in bed.
No doubt realizing she'd crossed the line, Hurley came back saying he was "fantastic" in bed. Someone was lying. In that she never insisted she was misquoted, but only said that there was confusion in the interview, we're guessing Hurley's the one with her pants on fire.