Sunday, June 1, 2014

Word of the Month for June 2014: Lie

pants on fire
Have you ever heard of the Big Lie Principle?  Drafted by Hitler and the Nazi propaganda machine, the Big Lie principle states that: it doesn't matter how big the lie is, people will believe it if you repeat it enough.  For instance, how many times, lately, have you heard the economy is rebounding?  Prices for everything is going through the roof, jobs are scarce, people thrown out of their homes left and right - but the economy is on the rebound?  Yeah, right.

Thing is, "truth" is very subjective.  Think about it - you're in an auto accident.  There is your version of what happened, every witness has a version of what happened, and the other driver has a version of what happened - three versions, one accident.  Holy Cow!  Imagine if there there a 50 car pile up - how many versions of truth would be there, then?!

Of course, all this brings us to our word for this month: LIE.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, LIE means to tell an untruth; to speak or write falsely (see perjury).  The problem with this definition is that it isn't all that clear and, in fact, is misleading.  Take, for instance, the example of the auto accident mentioned in the 1st paragraph.  Do you think the witnesses are inclined to tell a different truth than you because they hate you?  How about the other driver?  OK, maybe the other driver is inclined to sway the facts to his side, but the point to this is that perceptions are the driving factor behind lies and truth.

Another example.  I work in a law library.  Libraries are full of law books.  Books are made of paper.  For YEARS people have been saying paper is dead; that paper is a thing of the past.  Is this a lie?  Yes and no.  Fact is, paper is not dead.  People still love to hold paper books in their hands and read.  Love it.  Don't know if you know this but paper can't be hacked the same way computers (and electronic books) can be hacked.  So, paper is more reliable than electronic books.  Another thing you may not realize/know is that many electronic books have an expiration period - if you want to keep many electronic books, you have to keep paying to access them.  With a paper book, one price and it's yours to keep.

Another LIE that people keep spreading is that the Librarian profession is a dying profession (as in won't be around much longer).  The problem with that LIE is that in a galaxy far far away, they still had librarians.  Librarians are an important breed of cat if, for no other reason, we know where to find things and, once found, we know how to put that information in a format that is understandable to the masses.  Doctors are important, but have you ever tried to read their writing?  Lawyers are important but have you ever tried to understand what they're saying?  Engineers are important but...well, that one is kinda self explanatory (I mean, I don't think engineers understand engineers).

The point to all this is that if you tell a LIE enough times, people will believe it.  You gotta wonder, then, if everyone is lying to you, who can you trust?  I'll tell you who you can trust - your local county Law Librarian, that's who.  You bet.  In fact we're the only ones who don't have an agenda - except to get you what you need and out the door lickety split.  So, next time you're out and about, why not head on over to your local county law library and see if we can't help set you straight.