Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Embellishment Versus Lying: Stolen Valor and the Brilliance of Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin is not only a genius writer but apparently a fortune teller. For all lovers of the "Newsroom" you know the fallout of telling lies or embellishing when it comes to the news. Even in a fictional world it is not something you overcome easily or quickly. When it comes to trusting those who provide us with facts about the world, we cannot write off a flagrant mistake as "better luck next time." If you want that, then read internet news and bloggers. We have no checks and balances and can say whatever we want. I also don't bring home well into eight figures.

Brian Williams has come up with a doozy of excuses as have his counterparts at NBC. This is a full breakdown in the news, make no mistake. Not only did Brian Williams lie but a series of people let him tell that lie, knowing it was in fact a lie. This isn't the "Newsroom" where one man knew the truth and kept it a secret. A series of cameramen and producers tried to bring it to the attention of the higher ups and they said, "aw, it's close enough to the truth." That is unacceptable.  I am tired of the people making excuses for his behavior. I am really disgusted by his half-hearted apology where he never admits to actually lying but rather "misremembering" facts.

I can tell you it has been decades since a car accident I was in. I remember every detail of it like it was yesterday. You better believe if I was in a helicopter hit by an RPG or behind a helicopter hit by an RPG I would remember every second of it as would he. You don't misremember that. You misremember a birthday. You misremember a funny story. You misremember a name. You LIE about being on a helicopter you weren't on to look cool.

If he were in the military he would be court marshaled for stolen valor. That says a lot. A lot about what it means to be in service for this country and a lot about honor and even more about lying. We all tell interesting stories where we amp up the dialogue (to try and be more like Mr. Sorkin) and where people are a little more daft and a little more witty. But you cannot be the authority on topics around the world and tell large numbers of people you were personally shot at when you weren't. You are held to a different standard because you are revered by a different standard.

Brian Williams enjoys many perks from his job. He gets to go places he otherwise wouldn't get to go. He makes a small fortune for telling "facts." He enjoys the ability to delve into topics the rest of us might just be curious about and meet the real players in the world. Heck, he is a real player in the world. He can help shape the conversation. His choice, and it was a choice, to lie makes him untrustworthy.

I am all about redemption. I am all about people owning up to their mistakes. But lying is not a mistake. Lying is a choice. A mistake is finding out your research was flawed and having to straighten out the facts. Lying is telling people things about you that are not true and you know they aren't true. Yes, people deserve second chances, but he is not 23 trying to increase his stature. He has the stature. He is a grown-up who knows better. Yes, you can tell interesting stories on the news, but at the end of the day they must be true. They must be as accurate as you can make them.

I don't think Brian Williams deserves the desk he sits at. I think he needs a big, long time out and then maybe he could write a book or two. The truth is we aren't taking away his livelihood. He is not a regular employee who will not be able to support himself anymore. He has plenty. He may not have as much as he once hoped but he won't be homeless and he can book another gig. Maybe he can even start a website, then he can tell all the stories he likes.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl Delay, a Successful “How I Met Your Mother” Moment


I am a huge football fan. I must admit that I lean a bit more toward college ball, but I gather with my friends almost every Sunday to watch games. It is really about the bad jokes, Frank Gore’s Penis, F**** Julius and a variety of inappropriate jokes that makes it fun. My life turned into an the Super Bowl episode of “How I Met Your Mother” when they had to wait to watch the Super Bowl recorded.

My husband was called into work the night before so he wasn’t going to be awake in time to watch the game. In addition, my best friend Carrie was in from North Carolina. Carrie and I mesh on many levels, my love of sports is not one of them. With limited girl time, I couldn’t bail early to watch a football game in which none of my teams were even playing. That being said, why did I care about the Super Bowl? If I wasn’t going to be at the party, it couldn’t matter; yet somehow it did.

I told myself I didn’t care, no big deal. I hate the Sea-Thugs anyway. When my husband suggested we Tivo the game and watch it later I was fine with it. Honestly I figured I would see something and just pretend I didn’t…it’s just a little white lie, right? Chris saw the look on my face and called my lie before the lie. He challenged me to not see anything. It was like the grown-up version of a double-dog dare. Challenge accepted.


My first order of business was to call Craig, the only Patriots fan amongst those at my usual football party spot. No calls or texts during the game as I was on delay. That took care of a big part of the potential problem; it also got me laughed at, but that’s beside the point. It’s easy enough not to sign into Facebook, Instagram or things like that during the game, besides I was with Carrie.

We tooled around Los Angeles, I averted my eyes from the TV whenever there was one. You don’t realize just how many TVs are around until you are trying not to watch them. I turned my phone to “hide” so text messages merely came on the home screen as whom they were from, no hint as to what the sender had typed.

For dinner, we chose a sushi place. Japanese should be safe, right? Wrong... TVs lined the one wall and then two were over the bar. Lucky for me the distance made it so I would have to really focus to see the score and I managed to listen quite intently to everything Carrie had to say so as not to hear anything. By the way, also shocking. Places that play football all season don’t put the sound up, but Super Bowl Sunday, it is blaring everywhere!

Said my good-byes to Carrie and started on my way home. I went to turn on the radio and realized that was a very bad idea. Silence in the car, I don’t think I have experienced this ever. No radio, no phone just driving. I lived, barely. Left to my own devices my road rage can get a bit out of control. But there was no traffic, so the general public was safe.

The next challenge was turning on the TV and not seeing who had won. The new menu on Tivo is cool, but it shows the current image in a small window next to the list of programs. So while I could mute it or pause it, I was still going to see a little picture in the corner that may just give it away. Solution: squinch up your eyes super tight. Just enough to make out the list and enough to see what program is highlighted. Success…we started the Super Bowl and knew nothing.

Then the phone started buzzing. I glanced down and saw it was from my brother. I quickly picked up Chris’s phone, texted my brother from there to say I wasn’t reading his text because I didn’t know who won yet. Tragedy averted.
We did it, we made it through the whole game without any information. We experienced it as everyone else did and were equally shocked by the ending. It was actually quite nice to live in a little bubble. To be a small party of two with our own little reality for a short time. Honestly, I don’t think we could have made it another hour without something leaking through.