One of the major problems I have in functioning in modern society is a nasty habit of complete honesty that I find hard to shake off. It was tested severely last weekend when I made a conscience effort to omit half of what I wanted to say about the then impending visit of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to my home town. Nearest I got was to stick up a few clips from Monty Python’s the life of Brian and hoped a few people took the hint. They didn’t of course, they never do. What I wanted to say was, “Sure, go see him. Turn this bloke into the new saviour, you only have to keep it up for another four years and three hundred and forty days. Oh! and while you are doing that I will just go off and work my fingers to the bone trying to sort my own life out because no one else will lift a finger to help me. Because your idea of socialism and community spirit revolves entirely around you looking good in public and doing what is socially acceptable by the most people at any given point.” Something like that anyway. I would have also omitted anything about them all being a bunch of sheep. It was also painful not to point out the sanitised nature of all the photo opportunities. Jeremy surrounded by golden youth, Jeremy with Momentum approved banner slogans in the background, Jeremy healing the sick and raising the dead.
Jeremy Corbyn is an ok bloke for a career politician and in the context of modern politics that makes him a welcome novelty rather than the norm. He is a human being though, and the idea of hero worshipping another human being makes me deeply uncomfortable, whether it be a writer, an artist, a pop star or a politician, he is just a person not a messiah. The real issue here is why aren’t more politicians decent human beings? What is it that turns 99.99% of those involved in politics into a complete, souless, bastards? It is impossible for me to have this conversation though as people don’t want to think, they want to believe. So I say very little, and that makes my skin crawl as it feels as bad as lying.
The weird thing is that whilst being honest and sincere is regarded as being a virtue, it really doesn’t get you liked. I was just as honest when Trump got in power in America and as the great and the good gathered (to be seen by the other great and the good) in the town square and just carried on making art as I was perfectly aware that Trump is too much of a narcisist to be anything but flattered by people in a far off place he can’t find on a map actually knowing who he is. And now, months later, where is all that furore? It’s moved on to then next drama and the next and the next… Even pointing it out now makes me come over as a smug git and I hate that. All I ever want to say to people is “use your energy where it makes a real difference, not where it makes you look popular.” But no, I’m negative, I’m the nutter. It’s very tedious.
I have very few close friends but they are all very honest. I am happy to hear when I think I am wrong but I also feel comfortable explaining my point of view if I feel I’m right. I don’t do anything to make people like me or impress people and neither does anyone I’m close to. They are all people who quietly get on with their thing because that is what their passion is, not because it makes them look popular or gets them ‘in’ with a group or gang. They are sincere, passionate and very real and totally honest. Honest about who they are, honest about what they do and honest about why they do it and I hope I can say the same about myself.
I must admit, since I have moved to my new home town nine years ago, I have never encountered so many dishonest people as I have here. There is something very fake and insincere about large proportions of what those involved would probably describe as the community. Truth be told , there are many communities hereabouts but to listen to those at the centre of ‘the community’ you would think there was only them. They have other names though, used by those on the outside, some more accurate than others. These include “DFL” (down from London) “FILTH” (failed in London try Hastings), “those wankers” and “that bunch of cunts”, none of these are perfectly accurate as some aren’t from London but other places, there may be a couple of local people, but none spring to mind and there are plenty of people who weren’t born here who want no truck with them. From the little contact I have had with any of them (and that was far too much) it seems like they are all involved in some sort of mutually assured deception where everyone involved has agreed to take everyone else’s claims of an illustrious past, somewhere else, at face value. So long as everyone involved keeps on turning up at each other’s things and chucks any work that turns up in each other’s direction, they can kid themselves that they are all hip and happening people rather than a bunch of delusional failures who hope the are all far enough away from wherever they started for anyone to bother asking about the truth. Many people gild the lily, they stretch the length of time they were somewhere, upgraded their job title, but there is a difference between gilding something and upending a whole tin of gold paint on the thing.
How do people manage to lie all the time? That is what I want to know. I can understand why some people will do it occasionally just to get on or so as not to hurt someone’s feelings but I still cannot comprehend why some people lie and lie and lie, regardless of being confronted by the truth or whether it will backfire on them at some point in the future. I guess it is really down to upbringing. I had a chronic liar in my life for a while and it was exhausting to say the least. It is impossible to drop your guard for one second as, once you notice the pattern, you notice just how often things are omitted, half said or phrased in a certain way so things are true, but only from a certain perspective. It is pointless pulling someone like this up on their persistent dishonesty as they just keep going and with so much conviction that you end up not believing yourself rather than getting them to change. In fact, I am now part of various self help groups designed to deal with situations like this because the only way you can cope with people this determined to tell lies and indeed lie to themselves is to go cold turkey or ‘nc’ (no contact). People proudly talk about how many days they have gone nc and they have all come to the painful conclusion that the source of their misery is beyond help and all you can do is to detatch and get on with your own life. Human beings are naturally curious though, we want answers and we want explanations but in cases like these, with compulsive liars and the self deluded you will never get the honest answer you seek, you can’t because they would have to unravel all the lies and they would realise that there really isn’t much of a person left underneath them all. The consequencesof that truth in the short term are greater than those of keeping up the lies. The long term consequences are pretty dire though, an empty world of shallow people and nothing solid behind all the lies, but that is for another day and people can worry about that then.