How To Sell A Lie

This blog – as well as the Facebook Page to which it is connected – is generally A Politics-Free Zone. But since this is an Election Year in the Virtuous Wonderland that is Illinois politics (only three of four recent governors – bipartisan – have served time in prison) and in other places where corruption is Officially Unknown, it is increasingly difficult to ignore – especially in the Political Paradise known as Chicago.

So please forgive the irresistible urge to record a few Obvious Observations on how it is so easy to foist off on an Unsuspecting Population any Demonstrable Untruth deemed Necessary. And since this is normally a space devoted to Matters Religious and Historical, I should note that, Historically, these tactics have worked just about as well in the Religious Realm.

So, How does one Sell A Lie?

First, Give The Lie a Make-Over. Shave off a corner or three. File off some rough edges. Shampoo it. Apply a bit of polish. The Base (the core of True Believers in The Lie) will still recognize The Lie and support it – even in a Slightly Modified form. They will understand the need for Perfumers and Costumers in order to make it more palatable to the Great Unwashed Masses who are not yet Wise Enough to accept The Lie as the Truth.

Create Plausible Deniability. Cleaning It Up and Watering It Down also creates numerous opportunities to negate criticism of The Lie and its Guardians. To obfuscate, even. No, we didn’t really mean to say that. Someone mis-spoke. Mistakes were made. You MisUnderstood (read: Opponents of the Lie are really not Smart Enough to understand it – poor souls).

Cry Foul and Claim Misinterpretation. Cover your own fabrications with allegations of the same. Tu Quoque to you too, buddy. Misquote. Omit significant details. Launch a few ad hominem arguments.

Construct Emotional Cover. A sick child. A disabled husband. A crippling disease. A dead pet, even. Anything will do, really, if it generates enough Emotional Resonance for many in The Audience to give the perpetrator A Pass Due To Overwhelming Grief – justification for even the most outrageous statements in support of The Lie. Or crafting the demolition of any who dare challenge it.

Demonize the Opposition. They’re not Really interested in enforcing the law, or seeing that rules are applied fairly. They’re just Nasty, Shrewd, and Brutish. Interested only with the Wanton Destruction of Innocent Bystanders. Devilish. Klutzes in Satan’s Service.

Proclaim Yourself Under Attack. Then declare yourself Exhausted from the Herculean Effort and Unable To Continue. Take yourself off the air (and/or Social Media) for at least a day and a half. It’s sure to generate sympathy and support – maybe even more financial contributions.

Form a Committee of the Committed to Run Interference. The Lie will go so much farther with an Army of Enablers who are much more concerned with correcting anyone with the audacity to criticize, than with worrying about whether The Lie might in fact be, well, Untrue. Counterfactual, even. Maybe downright False. If you can’t produce an angry Mama Bear type, protecting her poor li’l cubbies, maybe just an Outraged Friend or 2nd cousin, preferably with all the personality of a wounded rhinoceros, may do in a pinch. If all else fails, a pack of hyenas should suffice.

Utilize Overheated Rhetoric. Dark Forces are working to silence The Truth of The Lie. Opponents are perpetrating the most Critical and Devious Assault on Motherhood and Apple Pie since, ummm, at least last quarter. Invoke the wrath of the Almighty. We Stand At Armageddon, And We Do Battle For The Lord.

Stage It Professionally. Good video is absolutely essential — steady pans, tight shots on the featured heroes — and don’t neglect the music, building to a conclusive climax. If funding is an issue, borrow the semi-professional Praise Team (and their backing band) from the local megachurch — call it “grassroots” to make it sound chic.

But perhaps this overstates matters. Maybe I should retract what I said about such tactics working in the Religious Realm as well as for Politicos. We all know Christians would never do such things – right?

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