Help me out here. When is a lie a lie? When is a liar a liar?
Case A is the person who sits in a bar and tells you that he was Bernard Mongomery’s personal bodyguard at the battle of El Alamein. But he is 34 years old. Alamein was in the 1940’s.
A clear lie, and provable by arithmetic. Made in a bar room, the statement is contemptible. Given over in a court of law under oath it would be culpable.
Case B is that same person in the same bar room telling how he saw a yowie talking to Big Foot and a fire-breathing dragon at the football last week. Another lie, but so far from believable that no-one even pays attention. Is it a lie or a brag? Is he a liar or a braggart. No prizes for the right answer.
But case C is the toughie.
Take the same person, put them somewhere that doesn’t have liquor or lawyers – say on a social media page like Feetbook. Let them ” share ” a meme or statement from someone that is marginally debatable. Let that debate carry on until some final proof emerges – and the statement or meme turns out to have been untrue. Perhaps a joke or a piece of political propaganda inserted by some steam room of scammers.
Is our man – C – a liar? He told a lie, but did he know whether it was true or not? Is there another term of opprobrium that should apply, perhaps less severe than ” outright liar” ?
I always hesitate to call someone this – it signals the end of friendship, and the start of enmity. It breaks social contact. Yet no-one likes being lied to…
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