It’s the holidays. I haven’t been to the office in over three days. I watched a couple of Christmas movies. I read my new book. And I spent an unbelievable amount of time catching up on the political scene. In fact, I spent over an hour yesterday morning just trying to grasp the enormity of “misinformation” that leaks out of people. I knew it was there, but I found myself intrigued by the liars’ indexes that have been gathered.
photo credit: The Telegraph
Much could be made of the fact that the worse offenders seemed to be gathered along one end of the political spectrum. But it’s shocking to see how much falsehood is thrust upon us by all of the candidates — and sitting officials.
Still, I wondered why some of these folks seemed to be so focused on falsity.
‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’
I have settled on the idea that is attributed to Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And no, this is not an indictment of the female candidates for president. In fact, both appear in the middle of the list of fabricators. Instead, I’m thinking about the meaning attributed to that statement over the years.
We think of the statement using the modern definition of the word “protest” — a challenge, a defensive move. When Bill Shakespeare wrote, protest meant a vow or commitment. The Queen was saying that the lady in the play she was viewing was trying to promise too much. To which her son, Hamlet (the playwright), said, “Oh, but she’ll keep her word.”
As I reviewed the list of candidates, it occurred to me that placement on the liars’ scale could have a lot to do with promising too much. That’s a common malady of those who talk too much.
Now, for those of you who are offended by my analysis, I am truly sorry. But listen to those statements. Take a close look at the quotes that land these people on the liars’ list. In most cases, their statements would have been valid if they had just stopped early enough.
In the press to win, to overcome, and perhaps, even to lay waste to others, we all go beyond what we’ve thought through. Sometimes we’re lucky and we deliver on our promises. Sometimes, we “protest too much, methinks.”
A healthy pause can be a good thing. And listening to others during the pause could be, too.