Friday, June 13, 2014

Lie To Me



There is a TV show I enjoy watching from time to time. It's not too violent and the concept is fascinating if for no other reason that mystery writers are obsessed with investigation techniques. The show is called Lie to Me. It features a forensic psychologist who specializes in identifying people who are telling lies.

Some of the most amusing scenes in the show are when he is explaining some points to his colleagues and there are flashes of famous people in the news expressing similar emotions. Lying, cheating, dissembling, or just messing around with truthiness in general.

Will anyone ever forget Clinton shaking his finger and saying "I did not have sex with that woman?" Or Bush's famous declaration, "Mission Accomplished."

I'm always surprised at how easily some people lie. At a writer's conference years ago, I listened to an agent on a panel who was a first class liar. I knew this for a fact because he had just fleeced a friend of mine. But he was really, really good at convincing people that he was highly ethical, brilliantly connected in the publishing world and one swell person to have on their side. Oh, right.

When it comes to our own friends and family, it's amazing how often we simply know when something is amiss. A look in their eye. A smile that's forced. A too cheerful front.

Email and the internet makes it hard to conceal affairs or anything else for that matter. It makes me a little nervous to look up guns and information about poisons when I'm considering plots. What if the FBI or whoever decides to investigate me? What if I look like a liar when I'm questioned?

I imagine I would look guilty whatever they asked.

All this focus on body language makes it hard for mystery writer to fool our readers. That's what we writers basically are, you know. Really good liars.

6 comments:

Rick Blechta said...

LOVE the cartoon!

Charlotte Hinger said...

The New Yorker never fails us.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

Thanks, Charlotte, for this so true post about un-truth tellers from agents to authors! And oh, yeah, politicians' whoppers. See you soon at the Western Writers of America Convention -- no lie!

Charlotte Hinger said...

Irene, can't wait to see you. Will there even be enough TIME for us to catch up?

Mark Bacon said...

I get nervous too, looking up nefarious stuff on the web. For a short story I was writing I spent no little time researching how to steal a car. It seems remarkably easy according to the detailed instructions I found on several sites. Is this freedom of speech or Successful Crime 101? I won't go into the car theft details here, but I can say my cops eventually bagged the bad guys.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Mark, I certainly share your nervousness. I recently spent a long time browsing sites on how to pick locks.