Lying to Jimmy Kimmel

Have you ever been caught in a lie? Yeah, me neither. I’m the George Washington of Jesuits.

Hard as it may be for honest folks like us to believe, there are some people who are not always truthful. TJP’s own Tim O’Brien, SJ has highlighted one way of handling tough questions – avoid lies and be honest with yourself. Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has another way of handling tough questions – keep digging yourself out of that hole. Kimmel has started highlighting this flaw of human nature in a regular segment entitled “Lie Witness News.”

The setup is simple: a roving reporter on the street asks random people about recent pop culture events. These events include the Coachella Music and Arts Festival:

And the Super Bowl:

And the Papal election:

As we see above, these questions do not refer to actual bands at Coachella, actual plays from the Super Bowl, or actual popes. Of course we may have some ethical qualms about the tactic of lying to catch other people in a lie. Moreover, if we believe some YouTube viewers, the segment may be staged, with the questions dubbed over preexisting interview recordings to make the respondents sound stupid.

Despite all that, we all know this phenomenon, don’t we? We all know people – we may even be the person – who will fudge a little to seem “in the know.” Kimmel’s crew is pointing to the lengths – lengths longer than Pinocchio’s nose – that people go to in order to fit in. They are lengths that show a person’s desire to be a part of a community. They show a person ignoring what she knows is real and true. They reveal that we might depend too much on the approval of others.

Ultimately, Kimmel’s segment is so funny because we know that we have all lied to conform to some community’s standard, no matter how absurd. That could be anyone of us in those videos. Except me, of course.

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Cover photo of Pinocchio by JBrazito via Flickr.

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