Tag Archives: politics

Truth-O-Meters and Lies

Truth-O-MeterThere is a new iPhone app called “Settle It!”, applicable for US politics. It is used to resolve dinner-table arguments by checking political facts with PolitiFact. PolitiFact runs a website dedicated to checking facts and assigning degrees of truth to statements by politicians. The result is displayed on a device called a “Truth-O-Meter” (see image). This is used for facts only, and not opinions and that, of course, makes sense.

That’s nice and fun, but in a perverse sort of way. To think kids spend a good 12 years or so in school with tonnes of red ink spilt on their work or report cards for getting facts wrong (yes, the poor kids are made to feel really guilty); yet lying (or at best a failure to check the correctness of facts) seems to become commonplace in adulthood with those who make public statements – that’s bad, bad, really bad.

Talk is cheap! The concept is a great one that PolitiFact came up with to save the public from being hoodwinked (if they care to refer to the Truth-O-Meter), although it’s too bad it’s even needed.

Book Review: Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Everyone gets something different out of a book. The opinions here are mine only.

This is an infomative and entertaning book. It is well researched and witty at the same time, so makes an enjoyable read.

From taboo subjects to business, food, drink and politics, our language is filled with euphamisms. Different euphamisms fall in and out of fashion over time. Just think about the number of euphamisms for “telling lies” to avoid our discomfort at referring to someone as a liar. In Chrchill’s time there were “terminological inexactitudes”. We “massage the truth”, we “sweeten the truth”, we “tell the truth improved” and we “pretend”. We have also seen people “misspeak”, “make bad choices” and “exercise poor judgement”. Bernard Madoff apologised for his “error of judgement”. Richard Nixon was often “in denial”.

There are probably more stories about the history of euphamisms than in this 250 page account, but it captures the essence of how euphamisms emerge and evolve and is great for someone reading about the subject for pleasure. Above all, it is hilarious in places and great fun to read.