Is It Okay To Lie?
Posted by Tawny Weber Jan 14 2012, 3:45 am
Liar Liar, Pants on Fire!
That saying makes me shudder. I’m really not a fan of lying. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of vices. Of all of them, lying is the one that always seemed to bother me most. Recently my daughters and I were with friends talking about our favorite Disney movies. Someone mentioned Pinocchio and my girls shook their head and said, “Mom wouldn’t let us watch that.” The looks I got! What a mean mom, right? But to me, the message of that movie was the payoffs of lying. Yeah, yeah, I know there were other messages, but that was the one that always came to mind. And it’s not like there aren’t a ton of other Disney movies to love and watch (interestingly, we loved Aladdin, so apparently stealing didn’t ring my freak-out bell *g*) And I do love Jiminy Cricket.
But guess saying I’m not a fan of lying is putting it mildly. Clearly I have an issue with lying. So writing the Undercover Operatives series, especially SEX, LIES AND MIDNIGHT, was an interesting challenge. Because people are lying in every book. And in MIDNIGHT, they are both lying –to each other, and to everyone else. The entire premise of the story is built around a con artist father who wants his children home, and lies to make that happen. Talk about an interesting writing journey – and proof that we writers explore our issues through our own stories. (which, btw, is not an invitation to go read all my books and figure out what my issues are. I mean, go ahead and read them all. But ignore the issue part )
I was able to justify, dance around, rationalize, excuse… you pick the word *g* Basically, to accept the lying theme my characters had to explore by understanding their motivations. Hey- the FBI was involved in all of the cases, someone was undercover in each one, and –this one’s the kicker– they were doing it for someone else’s good.
Ahh, the lie for someone else’s good.
Otherwise known as the Little White Lie.
You know the ones…
- No, those pants don’t make you look fat.
- Mmm, this is delicious. The best fried tofu casserole I’ve ever had.
- Oh my! What a darling baby.
- New hairstyle? Wow, super short looks great on you.
- Of course size doesn’t matter.
- I loved your latest book, um, the one with a romance in it.
- If you swallow those watermelon seeds, a fruit will grow in your belly.
- And then there’s the whole Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy extravaganza
They’re always said with the best intentions. Usually in hopes of NOT hurting someone’s feelings. Or of making them feel better when they are down on themselves. Or, you know, to perpetuate a long-standing, well-loved, present bringing tradition. In writing these books, I came to realize that my need to make people feel better- to not hurt their feelings -trumped my issues with lies. And clearly my character’s were pretty comfy with the whole thing
So what do you think? Are white lies okay? Under any circumstances, under certain circumstances, or never ever ever? Do you have a problem reading characters who are pretty much lying all over the place (ahem, including bed – or is that laying?) Is it okay if the reasons for the lies are strong, or it’s job related? Or is it never, ever okay?
Posted in Sex Lies and Midnight, Tawny Weber