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Lying liars and how you can tell they're lying

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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Post Post subject: Lying liars and how you can tell they're lying Reply with quote

From The Language of Evasion by Steven Yoder

Weaving a Tangled Web

The deterioration of the Bush team's English in the face of informed cross-examination is no mystery. Over the years, researchers have identified typical clues to deception, many of which cluster around the use of incorrect, fractured, and illogical sentences.

Stan Walters runs a company that provides interview and interrogation services and training to industry and law enforcement agencies. He notes in his book The Truth About Lying (2000) that, "People who are being deceptive have far more speech dysfunctions than people who are being truthful." One category of symptoms that he cites is "unclear line of thought." This includes omitting words or using incomplete sentences; sentence editing, in which the subject first chooses one word and then stops in mid-sentence and substitutes another; and providing indirect ideas in response to a direct question, such as expressing sentences that are incomplete and that contain unrelated or indirect ideas.

Similarly, at the 1999 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, a research team from the Smell & Taste Treatment Research Foundation reported on their assessment of 64 peer-reviewed articles and 20 books on mendacity. From these, they derived an index of 23 clinically detectable physical and verbal signs of deception. Among the verbal cues were speech errors and the increased use of verbal qualifiers or modifiers.

If you're wondering to what extent these signs show up in actual practice, the research team viewed a videotape of President Clinton's false denial to the grand jury of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. When compared with a control (a question-and-answer session by the President before a friendly crowd), the team found a 1,733-percent increase in speech errors and a 402-percent increase in the use of qualifiers and modifiers.

In and of itself, of course, mistake-prone English is not proof of lying. Rather, the experts agree that it and other behaviors are indicators of deception when they represent a change in the individual's behavior. Indeed, Rice, Bartlett, McClellan, and Hadley have been well spoken in handling questions on subjects other than Iraq's weapons, as you would expect from people who spend time in the public eye. Their English became a tangled web of errors, false starts, and illogic only when they fielded questions to which the administration had not provided believable answers.

When you're busy sidestepping and backpedaling, you're bound to trip and fall. So the next time you hear a Bush official use the wrong tense, drop words, or drift into incoherence, pay attention. There's probably a good reason.

If you're not XXXX, you're a guinness.
Sun Jan 25, 2004 4:39 pm
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Mon Jan 26, 2004 8:31 pm
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Post Post subject: Bush's language Reply with quote

Published on Thursday, November 28, 2002 by the Toronto Star

Bush Anything But Moronic, According to Author
Dark Overtones in His Malapropisms

by Murray Whyte

When Mark Crispin Miller first set out to write Dyslexicon: Observations on
a National Disorder, about the ever-growing catalogue of President George W.
Bush's verbal gaffes, he meant it for a laugh. But what he came to realize
wasn't entirely amusing.

Since the 2000 presidential campaign, Miller has been compiling his own
collection of Bush-isms, which have revealed, he says, a disquieting truth
about what lurks behind the cock-eyed leer of the leader of the free world.
He's not a moron at all - on that point, Miller and Prime Minister Jean
Chrétien agree.

But according to Miller, he's no friend. "I did initially intend it to be a
funny book. But that was before I had a chance to read through all the
transcripts," Miller, an American author and a professor of culture and
communication at New York University, said recently in Toronto.

"Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a
sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an
inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled
manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is
what a lot of people miss."

Miller's judgment, that the president might suffer from a bona fide
personality disorder, almost makes one long for the less menacing notion
currently making the rounds: that the White House's current occupant is, in
fact, simply an idiot.

If only. Miller's rendering of the president is bleaker than that. In
studying Bush's various adventures in oration, he started to see a pattern

"He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when
he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge.

"When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine,"
Miller said.

"It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or
idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

While Miller's book has been praised for its eloquence" and "playful use of
language," it has enraged Bush supporters.

Bush's ascent in the eyes of many Americans - his approval rating hovers at
near 80 percent - was the direct result of tough talk following the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks. In those speeches, Bush stumbled not at all; his language
of retribution was clear.

It was a sharp contrast to the pre-9/11 George W. Bush. Even before the
Supreme Court in 2001 had to intervene and rule on recounts in Florida after
a contentious presidential election, a corps of journalists were salivating
at the prospect: a bafflingly inarticulate man in a position of power not
seen since vice-president Dan Quayle rode shotgun on George H.W. Bush's one
term in office.

But equating Bush's malapropisms with Quayle's inability to spell "potato"
is a dangerous assumption, Miller says.

At a public address in Nashville, Tenn., in September, Bush provided one of
his most memorable stumbles. Trying to give strength to his case that Saddam
Hussein had already deceived the West concerning his store of weapons, Bush
was scripted to offer an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me
twice, shame on me. What came out was the following:

"Fool me once, shame ... shame on ... you." Long, uncomfortable pause. "Fool
me - can't get fooled again!"

Played for laughs everywhere, Miller saw a darkness underlying the gaffe.

"There's an episode of Happy Days, where The Fonz has to say, `I'm sorry'
and can't do it. Same thing," Miller said.

"What's revealing about this is that Bush could not say, `Shame on me' to
save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is
absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude."

If what Miller says is true - and it would take more than just observations
to prove it - then Bush has achieved an astounding goal.

By stumbling blithely along, he has been able to push his image as "just
folks" - a normal guy who screws up just like the rest of us.

This, in fact, is a central cog in his image-making machine, Miller says:
Portraying the wealthy scion of one of America's most powerful families as a
regular, imperfect Joe.

But the depiction, Miller says, is also remarkable for what it hides -
imperfect, yes, but also detached, wealthy and unable to identify with the
"folks" he's been designed to appeal to.

An example, Miller says, surfaced early in his presidential tenure.

"I know how hard it is to put food on your family," Bush was quoted as

"That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, `Put
food on your family's table' - it's because he doesn't care about people who
can't put food on the table," Miller says.

So, when Bush is envisioning "a foreign-handed foreign policy," or observes
on some point that "it's not the way that America is all about," Miller
contends it's because he can't keep his focus on things that mean nothing to

"When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about
democracy, he can't do it," he said.

This, then, is why he's so closely watched by his handlers, Miller says -
not because he'll say something stupid, but because he'll overindulge! in
the language of violence and punishment at which he excels.

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy. He's much like Nixon. So they're
very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him
anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper."

Miller, without question, is a man with a mission - and laughter isn't it.

"I call him the feel bad president, because he's all about punishment and
death," he said. "It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."

The transcendental devotees of the Lord are not only free from material envy, but are well-wishers to everyone, and they strive to establish a competitionless society with God in the center. [/b]
Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:42 pm
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004
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Location: Berlin

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That's a wonderful article. Could you post the link?
Tue Jan 27, 2004 12:14 am
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Posts: 43

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you mean my post? the original article appeared in the Toronto Star, but you'll have to buy it from there..

its available at lots of other sites, eg:

Tue Jan 27, 2004 12:51 am
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