It’ll Get Worse

When is a lie not a lie? When it’s a spin.

I read the other day that every one of us, on average, tells four lies a day. That number is quite a bit higher if you’re a politician or under age 5. Of course no politician wants to be accused of lying, so over the years campaign managers came up with a term that was more acceptable to the public.

It’s called “spinning.” A spin is not actually a lie, but it’s not actually the truth either. It’s merely the presentation of the facts to suit one’s own benefit. It can be positive, negative or just an excuse.

Now most people tend to embellish the truth about themselves. If you don’t believe me, try Internet dating. And a resume is the closest many of us will ever come to perfection.

On a broader scale, spin tactics have been very successful in manipulating public opinion. In fact, there’s really only one thing that’s effective against them.

Common sense. Most of ‘em don’t pass the straight face test if you bother to stop and think.

Take Hugh Hefner for instance. He boasted to the media that Playboy had to pay Lindsay Lohan a million dollars to take her clothes off. But when you think about it, wouldn’t it have been cheaper if he’d just bought her a drink?

And after he was fired by CBS, Charlie Sheen tried to lead us all to believe that he was a crazy man on a mission during his “Torpedo of Truth” tour through 20 cities last year. But lately, he seems to have recovered some remnants of his sanity. Isn’t it amazing how fast celebrities cure crazy when people stop paying attention to them?

There was also an interesting twist to a local news story recently.

Hostess Brands, the Irving-based maker of Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

I was stunned. When I was growing up, Hostess cupcakes were a main staple of my diet. And in the late 60s, one of their products became the signature food for the counter-culture. If giggling was kept to a minimum, some of those folks could easily consume half their weight in Twinkies without ever leaving the couch. So how in the world could this company go broke?

Well, company executives had their own spin. They blamed poor sales on the fact that Americans were becoming more health conscious and opting for healthy snacks. Makes perfect sense, until you realize that the nation’s obesity rate has actually doubled over the past 15 years. I’m not making that up. Almost a third of us are now using extension cords for belts.

Now although Hostess may have lost its knack for fattening up Americans, someone else has picked up the slack.

That would be Paula Deen, the celebrity chef who has quite an affinity for rich fatty foods. The number of calories in any one of her Southern recipes has at least one comma in it. My personal favorite is 10 Cadbury Crème Eggs smothered in Frito crumbs, served on four sticks of butter.

It’s probably not surprising that she has sold millions of cookbooks. It’s also not surprising that Paula turned up with Type II diabetes more than three years ago, which she conveniently failed to divulge to her huge fan base.

In a recent interview, Deen’s spin was that she sat on the information so she’d have time to adjust and soak it all in. She then casually revealed that she was endorsing a diabetes drug for a Danish pharmaceutical company. She also just happens to be in partnership with them. No problem.

Unfortunately, the spinning is only gonna get worse. After all, it’s an election year. And if Pinocchio were running for President, he’d be incapacitated after the first debate.