Thursday, July 09, 2009

A View of the Lie Told and the Aftermath

I've been thinking about lies lately, and the ways we try to extricate ourselves from problems lies leave behind.

It all started when, in an attempt to get away from the wall to wall coverage of Michael Jackson's death, I clicked onto The Frisky, one of my favorite guilty pleasure websites. There I found a very interesting post that posed a provocative question: What's the correct answer when asked how many sexual partners have you had? Amelia McDonnell-Parry, author of the post outlined seven sex partners that don't have to count. "It's not...lying per se; it's just that a just don't register on the same scale," she said, and thus don't have to count in a person's tally. For example, a partner doesn't have to count if the sex lasts 10 seconds or less and no one finished. It doesn't have to count if the sex was forced or if "you're less than 51% sure that penetration actually occurred." I could list more, but that would take away from the fun of clicking on the link and reading the piece - or creating your own reason why a partner shouldn't count. It was an interesting article that made me laugh and think about the ways we lie to others and ourselves.

And no, it didn't make me rethink my number. It also won't make me tell you that number either, so don't bother asking. Anyway, Catherine Strawn posted a companion piece about the five "I Love You's" that don't have to count, like if you were lonely or very drunk. I read this a few days later, after the news about the death of Steve McNair broke. McNair is the former NFL quarterback who was shot and killed by his girlfriend Sahel Kazemi in her Nashville residence - provided to her by McNair. A few days earlier, Ms. Kazemi and Mr. McNair were stopped on suspicion of DWI. She was driving a car purchased by Mr. McNair. She was charged, he was released. They'd been dating for several months, and she told friends & family that Mr. McNair was planning to divorce his wife to marry her.

This wasn't true. There was no divorce filing. His wife and four sons did not know about the relationship he had with Ms. Kazemi. In fact, Ms. Kazemi was becoming distraught because of the DWI arrest, growing financial issues, and because she began to suspect that Mr. McNair was cheating on her with another woman. As a reaction to this, she purchased a gun, shot Mr. McNair as he slept, then killed herself.

She was only 20 years old. He was only 36 years old. This was a case where lies, the ones told to others and the lies one chooses to believe, ended in the worst way possible. Two families are now trying to figure out why. Why was there a need to step outside of a seemingly happy marriage? Why did this young woman think the only way to resolve the issues facing her was to kill her lover? Kill herself? Why did any of this have to happen? Why couldn't it be stopped? Here lies the other tragedy in this story: They may never get all the answers they need to heal and move on. This one hit close to home for me because I understand the pain both families are feeling. I've experienced the hurt and betrayal felt upon the discovery of an unfaithful spouse, and I know the pain of never getting all the answers one craves upon learning of the suicide of a loved one. I can only hope both families have the strength to heal as best they can, and not give in to the temptation to lash out at each other as they cope with their hurt and grief. It's not going to be easy, especially given how public this story is right now.

Lies are never fully understandable. Sorting out the logic and the rationalizations behind them can be a futile exercise in circular logic that would confound M.C. Escher. Most of the time, the smoke and mirrors behind the lies are created in order to distract from the truth and throw those who dare question the liar off track. Say what you will about Monica Conyers, but she is a twisted master of the bait and switch. So desperate is she to make people forget that she took bribes in exchange for her vote in the Synagro scandal (she pleaded guilty in Federal court to conspiracy to commit bribery - a felony offense - and was forced to resign her City Council post), so desperate is she to escape inevitable jail time, and so desperate is she to cling to whatever power she can grab, that she's willing to make a complete spectacle of herself on TV.

She's decided to keep her public access level parody of "A Face in the Crowd," called "Ask The Councilwoman" on the air - even though she's no longer on City Council. She's also decided to play "Monica Conyers: Cub Reporter" by threatening to expose the drunk driving record of a reporter who questioned her as she reported to the set of her show this week. You have to click on this link and watch the video to see just how bizarre it gets.

Here's where lying and the web it creates gets even more tangled. In the clip, she accuses Scott Lewis, a reporter for Fox 2 News of having a drunken driving conviction on his record. This led to some haughty, "I've done no wrong" posturing by the reporter. At this point, the story he files turns from news reporting to almost "Network" style bombast. The report would've carried a bit more relevance had the station been brave enough to point out that Ms. Conyers got Mr. Lewis confused with another Fox 2 reporter, Andrea Isom, who was arrested back in 2006 for drunk driving. I found an excerpt of a newspaper report that ran in the Detroit Free Press, but could not find a link. Here's the story:

Channel 2 reporter Isom in DUI incident


November 21, 2006

WJBK-TV (Fox, Channel 2) news reporter Andrea Isom was in hot water Tuesday morning after having been stopped by Michigan State Police on a Detroit stretch of the Southfield Freeway allegedly driving the wrong way Monday night. She reportedly blew a .18 in a roadside sobriety test; the Michigan standard for driving under the influence is .08. Channel 2 GM Jeff Murri said he could not comment on Isom’s situation, citing company personnel policy. Isom did not immediately respond to a phone message. Isom began working at WJBK in April 2004. She previous toiled for stations in Kansas City, Dayton, Ohio, and Elmira, N.Y. She is a Cleveland native and an Ohio State University grad, according to her station biography.

The omission of this fact is a bit of a distortion of the truth, though it could rightfully be argued had nothing to do with Ms. Conyers or her behavior. It could rightfully be argued that the reporter's records have nothing to do with Ms. Conyers criminal behavior, it's impact on the city now and in the future. It could even rightfully be argued that Ms. Conyers continued disregard for her actions, her disrespect for her constituents, and her constant antagonizing attitude is proof of her unrepentance, requiring the maximum amount of punishment allowed when she's sentenced.

Still, the fact was omitted, and that added a bit of a taint to Mr. Lewis's piece. But that's the trouble with lies. The things we say to get out of trouble can sometimes lead to more trouble. The things we don't say in an attempt not to hurt someone's feelings can come back to haunt us in ways we can't imagine. Let your conscience be your guide, but always do the right thing.

More later, but first a shout out to my new friend at Dyspathy - thanks for adding me to your links. It's quite the honor. VFTT readers, be sure to check out his site daily. You'll love every minute of it, and you might learn something too.

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Anonymous BB said...

Until people really start believing nature; "that polygamy is what is more natural than monogamy" heart breaks will never stop. I am a firm believer that one mother and one father are best suited to raise kids but thats the end of it. Just like a womans body reacts differently to a lovers touch different from her husbands, it's the same way for men. And thats why open marriages are the future, watch!

5:58 PM  

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