At least some people have standards.
China has put a 53-year-old college professor and a bunch of his randy friends on trial for "group licentiousness," otherwise known around certain US heartland communities as "swinging." While the government is employing its stiff standards of righteous indignation about sex, the prof is applying his own principles as well: honesty and horniness. "What happens in my house," he said in court, "is a private matter."
That may have been the only time privacy was raised in the press during the last few weeks that mercifully didn't involve Mark Zuckerberg.
The naked truth may be on display in Nanjing, but here in the U.S. the art of lying is not only having a bumper crop moment in politics and academia - it also is, statistically, a cherished trait in our children.
A /SB10001424052748703880304575236171715034884.html" target="_blank">Wall Street Journal story
/SB10001424052748703880304575236171715034884.html" target="_blank">Wall Street Journal story(and a recent post by SF Gate's own Mommy Files) about research into fibbing kids says, citing one study, "lying is a sign of normal maturation." Okay, so most of us put a thermometer under hot water at least once or twice to get out of school. But there's more: "The fact that ... children tell lies is a sign that they have reached a new developmental milestone."
And wait, it doesn't stop there. It's the kids with "better executive abilities who lie more," according to a Journal quote from researcher and neuropsychologist Shawn Christ. A U.K. Telegraph version of the same theme is more blunt: lying children "are more likely to have successful lives." And the better they lie, "the more quick-witted they will be in later years."
Jon Stewart, you liar!
Fortunately for the gawking press and public, there apparently wasn't nearly enough childhood training to prevent some people from getting caught in their lies as adults.
Harvard, home of the brightest of kids, housed a liar of impressive proportions: Adam Wheeler. Though not successful, Wheeler's alleged complex and widespread hustling certainly required some high executive functioning. AOL news took the opportunity to publish a list of "Top All-Time Harvard Grifters," just to remind us that Wheeler was not an isolated incident.
Then there was the orgy of hand wringing over Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal's fraudulent bluster about having served in Vietnam, though he did keep that fiction going for years before getting busted. Turns out he was nowhere near Vietnam and sat the war out through five military deferments and some time as a Marine reservist at home that included a toys for (probably lying) tots program.
Of course, the truthlessness train is never a lonely ride in Washington. In case we needed to be reminded in the short days since the Ensign, Sanford and Massa scandals, yesterday evangelical Republican congressman Mark Souder admitted that he'd been having an extramarital affair with a staffer.
Morality has always had a low bar and high rhetorical value in politics. But members of the public are normally more titillated than shocked by cheating (which always involves lying). Voters, however, have always had less patience for hypocrisy. Souder had been a loud proponent of "abstaining from sex until in a committed, faithful relationship."
One of his constituents, a Syracuse bar owner, told AP that Souder is "supposed to be setting the values for youth." Apparently, if you believe the studies about kids and lying, he was.