When Todd Rundgren released the album Liars back in 2004, he was asked about the title and the album cover -- TR dressed in bunny ears and nose, hovering over an Easter basket. He discussed how lying is so pervasive in our society, and that it starts when we lie to our kids about things like the Easter Bunny (the reason for the CD cover) or Santa Claus.
He has a point. But the problem isn't just that parents lie to their kids. It's that they're teaching them to lie.
And, subsequently, cheat.
You probably remember a few months back when a six-year-old girl won a prized ticket to a Hannah Montana show with a letter describing how her father died in Iraq. Quite sad. Until we found out it was a lie, obviously perpetrated with a little parental help.
Recently, I overheard about an area teen who bragged that how his dad was so technologically skilled. So skilled, in fact, that he was able to pay for one cable box (or satellite dish) and hook it up -- free of cost -- to several TVs in the house. The dad was proud. The son was proud.
And they were lying. Cheating. Stealing.
As pervasive as lying is that sense of entitlement everyone feels, whether it's for concert tickets, cable TV, a raise at work, easy grades at school. And people use that entitlement to justify using dishonesty to get what they want.
Look, I'm all for sticking it to the man, especially when that man is a huge bully corporation like Ticketmaster, Clear Channel or Halliburton. But my distaste for these money-grabbers doesn't justify cheating or stealing from them. And it certainly doesn't justify teaching those traits to your children.
Parents, grow up!
Lying liars and the liars who sing about them
Let me end this post on a lighter note, with three of my favorite songs about lying. I'm sure I left one of your favorites out. Please let me know.
3. Big Star, Don't Lie to Me.
2. Billy Joel, Honesty.
1. Nick Lowe, All Men are Liars. He rhymes ghastly with Rick Astley. It's a fun song. Check out the video now.