Lance Armstrong, the biggest drugs cheat in sport, is having a friend over this week. The pair may compare inspiring quotes - both have spawned industries in them - and talk about the spiritual enlightenment that grows in adversity.
There will be a confession - or so says the press release - and there may be tears and a hug. Armstrong may even try telling the truth for the first time in a decade or two.
But let’s not get carried away. Armstrong has had five months since he was outed as a slimebag to practise his best version of honesty, the one that is least likely to lead to lawsuits and most likely to spark the first flickerings of public support.
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Parenting’s surprisingly easy when you’re not a parent. I’d never let them watch television, they’d be outside running around pretty much all the time, I’d never get angry and I’d NEVER lie to them and tell them Father Christmas is real.
Piece of cake. Well, piece of organic apple, maybe.
It must be much more fraught when you’re embedded with the real thing, where not only are you forced to make decisions while sleep deprived, but every move you make puts you in the firing line of the judging hordes.
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When I was 14 I told my mum a shocking lie. I promised her I wouldn’t get my hair permed, then made the hairdresser straighten my new-look locks to conceal the semi-permanent wave.
Why was the lie so shocking? Because I was so easily caught out: the very next morning I emerged from the shower resembling a merino sheep and the gig was up.
We all lie, all the time. Well, not ALL the time. That would be lying. Let’s just say we all lie a lot. In fact, we’re told up to 200 lies every day, according to American social media expert and author of Liespotting, Pamela Meyer.
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Back in March, when the US presidential election campaign was in its early stages, the Washington Post newspaper awarded Barack Obama four Pinocchios.
This signified that, in the eyes of the newspaper’s full-time political fact-checker, the president had been caught out telling a blatant porkie.
Obama had claimed that Grover Cleveland, who served two terms as president in the late 19th century, disliked technology and was opposed to the telephone.
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Oh man, my train was delayed for a WHOLE hour this morning. No one told us what was going on. It was so cramped I reckon a woman was starting to suffocate. My boss was so angry with me. If I miss critical deadlines again, I’m fired. He’s after me.
Where did I get this tiny bruise on the side of my face from? Oh, that… Yeah, I got smacked by a vicious thug when I was wandering home late at night at the weekend. I only got away because I’m so fit.
So fit, I ran a marathon in under 3 hours once. Haven’t I told you?
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A few weeks ago Greenpeace turned its “greenmail” forces on national franchise chain Bakers Delight, telling customers they soon would be eating bread made from genetically modified wheat.
There was no justification for the claim, and no thorough examination of the merits or otherwise of GM crops.
Said Greenpeace on Facebook: This week we are suggesting that Bakers Delight change its well-publicised motto: “Bakers Delight bakers use real ingredients to bake unreal bread”. To the less snappy motto: “Bakers Delight bakers use risky genetically modified ingredients to bake unreal bread”.
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Given a spare 24 hours this week, I’d have flown to Brisbane and found the woman who berated Julia Gillard about lying.
I would have taken her aside, adopted her own wounded expression and disappointed tone, and said: “My dear, it’s not personal - it’s much, much bigger than you.”
Her knitted-jumper tirade (“Why did you lie to us?’’ she breathed, sadly, “You’re still lying . . . I’m not stupid”) made terrific TV, a wonderful radio sound-bite and filled a few newspaper pages besides.
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We start lying to other people at three years of age.
No longer convinced of our mum’s omnipotent powers, our toddler minds grow in sync with our bodies. We realise we can think for ourselves.
From that point on, lies are a natural part of the daily tug-of-war between what we’re told to do and what, in all truthfulness, we want to do. Then we grow up. But as adults, we just lie to ourselves.
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The campaign tactics of all major parties in the NSW election proved we live in an atmosphere where truth is negotiable and lying is routinely accepted as a political necessity.
The result is widespread public cynicism that often masquerades as humour - but is, in fact, an excellent form of crowd control.
We do not expect our politicians to amount to much, so we are neither surprised nor particularly upset when they don’t. Rather than demand reform, we tell cynical jokes and are bemused by their brazen immorality.
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American celebrity culture and Australian politics don’t often make for useful comparisons - but then, it’s not every day that Charlie Sheen comes along.
Sheen is a highly amusing egomaniac but - unlike most Australian politicians - he also tells the truth. “I believe in the truth and that’s what rules me”, Sheen said in an interview with Andrea Canning for the ABC network in America. He certainly does.
When asked to describe the last time he used drugs, Sheen said, “I probably took more than anyone could survive… I was banging seven gram rocks… that’s how I roll. I have one gear—go.” It’s the answer no one else would’ve given even if they had’ve banged seven gram rocks (which I assume means consuming a lot of cocaine).
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