Tina K. Russell

March 10, 2008

Lies and Consequences

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Tina Russell @ 9:31 pm

Stolen Suffering – New York Times

This guy is right. The problem with lies is that they dilute the truth, and the truth–even in this age of “truthiness”–is a very important thing.

Moreover, to read a book is to express trust in the author, and the author had better not betray it. I read somewhere about authors defending David Sedaris’s many outlandish exaggerations, saying that, as a humorist, he shouldn’t be held to the same standards as, say, a journalist. That makes me sad because–though I find his writing a bit tiring–a lot of people read his books and find hope, inspiration, and a reminder to look for the amusing or insightful in the little things in life. People who read his books establish a trust, and when that trust is betrayed, it makes me sad. (And remember, you can always use disclaimers if you’re merely fudging things… the nice thing about disclaimers is that they remove pretense and force you to stand on the quality of your writing. Part of what people find enthralling about David Sedaris is that he writes, supposedly, true stories about a fairly average life. When he makes his embellishments, he’s selling the readers on a false premise, and that’s deplorable.)

Of course, the op-ed linked above isn’t about humor novels, or exaggerations; it’s about gut-wrenching, soul-searching memoirs that have recently turned out to be complete fabrications. I express often that I feel that we are slipping too deeply into moral relativism and forgetting the basic concepts of right and wrong, of good and evil, and–as is relevant here–truth and falsehood. The author is right that we need to bring back the truth, and start giving it the respect it deserves.

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