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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Smoke and Ice - Iago's Advantage

"A lie is the beginning of a new story. That's why we love Art." - Oscar Wilde

I have come to loathe the expression "Where there is smoke, there is fire" or, at least, its hasty usage. The assumption is that you are actually looking at smoke. It disregards the human capacity for lying. Given the right motivation - such as jealousy, old scores, prejudice, financial gains or political expedience - the human mind can pretty much come up with lies that don't have a single grain of truth. However, which cliché does seem to sadly prove true more often than not is that "mud sticks". This reminds me of an Ray Galton and Alan Simpson radio script called "Scandal Magazine". Gutter press editor Sid James explains to a vexed Tony Hancock, who he has scandalized in his magazine, why he cannot win. Even if Hancock wins the case and is exonerated the general public will think he has inside influence. The sheer publicity of the case - win or lose - will drive James's sales up. If Hancock chooses not to sue the persecution in the magazine will continue and the readers will assume the story is true.