Why do public figures lie?
It's always amazed me when a CEO, politician, or sports or movie star tells a blatant, obvious lie in public and expects to be believed. What are they thinking? Do they really assume that everyone will believe that black is white simply because they say so?
The question came up again last night on, of all things, 'American Idol'. Yes, we watch every week. Hey -some people watch Bill O'Reilly every night. You tell me which is a greater threat to rational thought.
Anyway... last night Simon apologized, very nicely, to Katherine McPhee for dissing her Tuesday night performance. It was a needed apology- Kat had sung the Holy Hell out of a Whitney Houston song, but all three judges evidently got pissed because she had dared to presume to perform something by The Great Whitney. I like Whitney too, but gimme a break.
So last night, during the judging, Simon said he had to apologize for being so negative. He had watched a tape of the show, and realized that Kat did a very good job. Randy muttered something about his being "too harsh" as well. So Rancid Ryan turned to Paula Abdul and asked if she had any regrets about being negative the night before.
"I wasn't negative," she said. Then she turns to Kat and says "You know I love you."
Now I've always been a Paula Abdul fan, but what the Hell was that all about? We all saw her be negative, on live television no less. It was all the more shocking because Paula is never negative about anyone. She'd probably tell George Bush he was doing a good job in Iraq.
So why lie?
Sure, it doesn't really matter whether Paula wants to fib or not, but as a larger issue, it is important. When CEOs, Presidents and others who do have influence on our daily lives think that they can lie, cheat and steal with impunity and then make everything better later by denying that that's what they did, that affects their behavior. Perhaps if we held these folks more accountable when the lies are revealed, someone else will think twice about doing something they need to lie about next time. When it's Paula Abdul it probably doesn't matter. When it's the CEO of Enron, or the Secretary of State, it probably does...