“Hanging from a Telephone Wire”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” I thought this morning, seeing the prompt. SO being the avid truth-seeker I am, I went to The Great Oracle (Google) to find the rest of this rhyme I learned it was “Hanging from a telegraph wire” which in my childhood mutated to “telephone” and NOW? THEN I “learned” it was a paraphrase of a poem by William Blake, “The Liar” which goes like this:

โ€œDeceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Do they dangle in the night?โ€

And THEN I learned that Blake never wrote that, another lie or just more of the kind of prissy knowledge we can all trot out from time to time that later bites us in the butt. To learn more about THIS an article in Atlas Obscura sheds some truth (maybe) on this matter.

I’ve known too many liars and I don’t really want to write more about my mom, brother and the Evil X and the various less potent and skillful liars it’s been my “pleasure” to know. My theory about lies is that most of them are told to get something or get an unfair advantage or cover up for a personal inadequacy. The “why” is only marginally important, though. The important thing is to GET AWAY from them which isn’t easy when they’re in your family or you’re as gullible as I am.

I have posted this before, but the best thing on lying I know is this performance by Henry Rollins. “Enjoy.”

P.S. The reason fiction was illegal in China WAAAAAAAYYYYYY back in the day was because it didn’t tell the truth. It couldn’t be published or sold. It was considered an idle pastime for degenerate people. And here we are where the truthful news media (whichever they are) are similarly doubted. Yesterday I read that the current president is in office as the leader of a puppet government. This is why they keep counting votes. Lies are exhausting…

18 thoughts on ““Hanging from a Telephone Wire”

  1. We always said, “Liar, liar, pants on fire. Your nose is longer than a telephone wire.” That’s wrong. I was lied to??!!!

  2. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – origination unknown but popularized by Mark Twain.

    If we didn’t lie, we’d all end up depressed and hating each other. Without the social lie, I doubt that civilization could exist. To me, the most important consideration important is whether malice was part of the motivation. Sometimes the unvarnished truth is a pain best avoided.

    In Jewish theology, it is not always a sin to lie. The commandment is very specific, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Most Talmudic scholars interpret this as an injunction against lies that hurt another person. Social lies are usually acceptable as well as some defensive lies. Maybe even fudging your resume, as long as you really can do the job.

    Some would get so specific as to say it only prohibits libel, slander, and perjury. Lies to perpetuate a fraud are covered under “Thou shalt not steal.”

  3. I enjoyed this one – especially the link about the phrases and their origins. I’ve always felt that honesty is the best policy. I just don’t have the energy to maintain lies! (and the political stuff has gotten so ridiculous that I just can’t even…)

  4. Whew, you sparked me! I am working on a reply: Liars and the lying lies they tell, but I gotta stop and eat something. Great post!

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