Does Anyone Care About the Truth Today?

Verónica Vega

HAVANA TIMES — They say truth is relative. At least, this is one of the maxims that people tend to defend the most, with good and bad intentions.

I confirmed this impression after seeing images of the Russian pop-rock band t.A.T.u for the first time. I had heard the band’s most popular numbers some years back, and my son and I, having seen the affection that the charismatic Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova showed towards one another (not only in their music videos, but also at concerts and interviews), had believed the two were a couple and asked ourselves whether the relationship had stood the test of time and survived the resounding success they’d had.

I had my first let down after doing some research about the band: the girls weren’t really a couple.

What’s more: they weren’t really lesbians.

Thirdly: the band wasn’t formed through the spontaneous association of young talents, as one would want to believe, clinging, as one does, to a now-obsolete notion of authenticity.

It was a carefully premeditated project, a juicy laboratory product like the Back Street Boys, with the added, at the time exotic condiment of a homosexual romance and the tried-and-true ingredient of teenage beauty.

The 2003 documentary t.A.T.u Anatomy shed light on this rather delicate point. “t.A.T.u”, an acronym formed with the first letters of the words in a phrase which, roughly translated, would be “this girl loves that girl”, was predictably faced with the disappointment of their gay fans, who declared they had been lied to and betrayed.

Anatomytatu
The 2003 documentary t.A.T.u Anatomy.

Bold as brass, the young women replied that this wasn’t true, that they had always been defenders of free love. Perhaps they meant “free lies.” To demonstrate their sincerity, they flew to Moscow to take part in a Gay Pride parade.

In any event, the disappointment surrounding the band’s deceit didn’t appear to make much of a dent in their public. Officially broken up in 2011, the band sold records, put out music videos and collected awards until 2010. When the prodigious machines of the market have been set in motion, no truth – no matter how evident – is powerful enough to stop it.

That people should be seduced through appeals to their most basic instincts and their most deeply-rooted longings is by no means anything new. Many say it is a phenomenon that draws from human stupidity. I prefer to think that it profits, not from stupidity, but from ignorance.

As crafty as many political maneuvers, it threatens to go on indefinitely, to renew itself across the generations. But, as in politics, it requires the willing participation of the spectator in order to work – just as the tyrant needs the victim and the sadist depends on the masochist.

So, to be fair, while it is true that truth is relative, it is also true that we believe what we want to believe, or, better, that there is no one as blind as someone who does not want to see.

That the strategies used to advertise and sell an artistic product are increasingly crude is a symptom of the world’s general, spiritual decline. This decline does not exclude the more developed countries, where the wealthiest – and supposedly more refined – populations live.

Recently, a friend was showing me that her cell phone has a call simulation function, an application she finds very useful to feign that one has a commitment and wriggle out of inopportune situations.

That people should be seduced through appeals to their most basic instincts and their most deeply-rooted longings is by no means anything new. Many say it is a phenomenon that draws from human stupidity. I prefer to think that it profits, not from stupidity, but from ignorance.

This is the direction we’re heading. The question is: what are we complaining about when we say that we can’t believe what the press, television or politicians are telling us, what salespeople say to us, sometimes looking at us straight in the eyes?

The vender walks around, pretty much announcing their scam to the four winds, and no one makes a fuss about it. Many people sell them empty bottles and flasks. And why not? After all, they’re not going to be the victims of that particular scam.

I’ve noticed that the younger generations here, trained in this duplicity from a very early age, have a peculiar relationship, not only towards truth, but also towards commitment. They are like windmills, turning in the direction of the wind without the slightest sense of loyalty.

Looking at this sad panorama, I often think of a song by Manu Chao, which wisely captured the world we live in:

Everything is a lie, that’s a lie
Everything is a lie, ain’t that the truth.


One thought on “Does Anyone Care About the Truth Today?

  • June 21, 2013 at 11:17 am
    Permalink

    Kohl’s don’t care:
    My name is Colt .I am 15 years old, on January 1st my Grandmother took me to Kohl’s to purchase a pair of shoes.We found a wallet.A man who claimed to be a seminary student was allowed to view surveillance video and choose a portion of the video to tell lies about my Grandmother..
    We have tried to tell everyone who has seen the video that the seminary student is not telling the truth..But no one seems to care..Kohl’s only responsed by saying they can give store video to anyone they choose..It’s not illegal.

    The following article was written in the Pike County Journal Reporter.
    A local resident feels like Mark Twain’s quote “A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on it’s pants” is especially true in his family’s case ever since a video of his wife and grandkids aired on an Atlanta news station and went viral worldwide spreading misinformation about them. The video alleges the Pike County resident found a wallet, handed the money to her sons and then went on a spending spree. In reality, all the money and other items in the change purse were returned to the rightful owner.
    “I just want people to know the truth,” she said. “When I found the change purse, there was a gift card and a receipt on top of it and the license was in a pull out pocket. The video says I was handing out money, but I handed the receipt and card to my grandson so I could look at the license. My young grandson was excited because I said we could go to Game Stop after Kohl’s.”
    The family wants to clear up the story but are scared to give out too much information about themselves since the video has been posted to thousands of websites where viewers have posted nasty comments, even death threats from sites such as AK47.net.
    A simple google search of ‘Woman finds wallet” will result in more than 4.5 million videos, photos and web stories. Most of them are about Barbara and her 8- and 15-year-old grandsons and they tell only a part of the story, stating that the three found a wallet, passed the money out amongst them and never returned any of the contents. The original news story even encouraged people to call 911 and turn them in to be arrested. Many of the webpage comments condemn the woman and even threaten her life and that of the young boys.
    “I tried diligently to locate the young lady from Mississippi and if additional video had been shown, it would show me walking around inside Kohl’s with the wallet in my hand looking for the owner,” said Barbara. “It would also show me waiting at the location where I found the wallet to see if the young girl exited or entered the store.”
    The three took the missing wallet, walked out of view of the front door surveillance tape and into the store. They took the wallet to the customer service desk, but hesitated to turn it in for fear workers would take the cash inside of it. Barbara called her husband, a retired fire chief, to ask him what he thought she should do with it.
    “He told me to bring it home since she was out of state and he would use his contacts with the sheriff and police offices to get it back to the owner,” she said. “We thought since the license said she was from out of state and under 21 that she might be a college student and we were scared with the amount of cash in it that the customer service workers would take it.”
    Once home, the family searched facebook and even called in a favor to a relative to look up the owner’s phone number using information from the wallet. They called repeatedly over the next few days, expecting someone to return their call. They were excited when they heard there was a news story about a missing wallet, because they were hoping to find the owner.
    “My grandmother taught me that when you find something that’s not yours, you get it back to the rightful owner and that’s what we were trying to do. This has really affected these two young boys,” said their grandfather Wally. “Noah, who is 8, asked me if he was going to jail. He asked me why his Mimi was crying after they saw the news story.”
    Noah was the one who took the wallet to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office after getting out of school. According to investigator Maj. David Neal, the wallet has since been returned to the owner.
    In the original news coverage which aired just days after the wallet was lost, Joseph Smith says “She’s setting an example for her kids. What are they going to do the next time they see a wallet or they see somebody drop something?”
    Well, the 8- and 15-year-old boys were tested on that when they found $60 cash inside Wal-Mart a few weeks after the lost wallet incident. They looked for a store security officer and when they couldn’t find one, they called the Griffin Police Department and immediately turned the money over to Officer Andrew Dorsey.

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