Updated: Nov 12, 2020
I've just taken time out from my modelling schedule to write this article. One second, my German beer maid girlfriend is calling me. Sorry about that.
We're taught from a young age that lying is BAD, you remember the story of 'the boy who cried wolf?'
According to Pamela Meyer, a professional lie spotter (yes, they exist) you are lied to anywhere between 10-200 times a day! Remember that really nice friend of a friend that you were introduced to? The one that is training to be an astronaut....strangers lie an average of 3 times within the first 10 minutes of meeting each other. Dammit! And you thought you were going to space.
Is the world more full of lies than ever? The current political climate has been described as 'post-truth' and our sources of information as 'fake news' which all comes as no surprise. Advertising lies about the lives we lead all day, every day, you need to be prepared! First off, what constitutes a lie?
The 7 basic lies
Error—a simple mistake, you believe what you are saying is true.
Omission – you intentionally don't include vital information, it's very easy to do and doesn't involve 'inventing' anything, this is almost 'guilt free' lying or 'passive deception.'
Restructuring—to distort the context, using sarcasm or changing the characters and scene to benefit your objective.
Denial—refusing to acknowledge a truth. Often accompanied with 'nope' and a shake of the head.
Minimisation—reducing the effects of a mistake, a fault, or a judgment call.
Exaggeration—perhaps the most familiar, especially with children telling us about their experiences. Details become bigger, more impressive and successful. “I caught a fish THIS BIG!”
Fabrication—an absolutely false story
You can't really stop yourself being lied to, but you can learn how to spot them as explained in Pamela Meyer's TED talk
Once you know what a lie looks and sounds like, why not become a professional. That could mean a career in politics or journalism or you could compete in the 2017 Grand Lying Contest
I promise this is not a lie, the competition which is held in London on 30th March is “an evening of relentless and preposterous absurdity...as fibbers, leg-pullers, prevaricators, and downright liars compete in public” as described by organiser Ben Haggarty.
The rules are simple - Each entrant must tell a lie, a lying tale, or a story about a lie or lying, which is longer than 3 minutes, but shorter than 7 minutes. Points out of 10 will be awarded according to:
The content of the lie
The delivery of the lie
The audience response to the lie
Why not hold your own lying contest in the classroom? Follow these easy steps:
1. Print and read this article for context and the contest rules
2. Discuss which students have told porkies (make note of vocabulary related to lying, many examples are included in this article)
3. Warm up with a group 'lie story'- each person tells a line of the story, written or spoken
4. Choose your judges, prepare your lies and follow the rules above to hold your own lie contest – rules can require the inclusion of any given grammar point for example – 2x intensifiers, 1x colloquial expression, 1x example of mixed conditional, a specific theme or vocabulary set