Surely there are quite a few things we wish they changed for the better, but maybe the time is not ripe to see them come true, or – if truth be told – perhaps it is part of the human nature to expect a lot more from the others, when in fact we should begin by remodelling our inner selves.
We all expect to be told the truth – always definite, always ‘the one and only’ (while we could tell a lie, or lies), even more so from the media. We do want to be well informed, even if the ebb and flow of our existence prevents us more often than not form streaming facts and becoming aware of events in all their development; if this were systematic, we would easily be entitled to draw conclusions which clearly separate fact from fiction, or fiction (=lies) from non-fiction.
A journalist’s job is therefore, by definition, to inform; indeed, tens of thousands of reporters worldwide testify to this challenging profession and strive to keep the public updated on the developments of issues that may have just emerged, or other, older conflicts that have gathered momentum.
Something along these lines must have happened to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters who, while relying heavily on anonymous sources, uncovered information suggesting knowledge of the break-in at the headquarters of the Watergate office complex, and of the attempts on behalf of the president’s men to cover-up the latter’s implication: the reporters’ dedication led deep into the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and the White House and finally to the president’s compliance to step down.
Here is a first set of questions for reflection:
What expressions, or gestures, tell you what the people are thinking?
Can you think of a situation when it might not be a good idea to say exactly what you think?
What kind of people could be described as dishonest?
Does Honesty Always Pay?
[adapted from Success at First Certificate, by Robert O’Neill, Michael Duckworth & Kathy Gude]
What exactly is a lie? Is it anything we say which we know is untrue? Or is it something more than that? For example, suppose a friend wants to borrow some money from you. You say, 'I wish I could help you but I'm short of money myself.' In fact, you are not short of money but your friend is in the habit of not paying his debts and you don't want to hurt his feelings by reminding him of this. Is this really a lie?
Professor Jerald Jellison of the University of Southern California has made a scientific study of lying. According to him, women are better liars than men, particularly when telling a 'white lie', such as when a woman at a party tells another woman that she likes her dress when she really thinks it looks awful. However, this is only one side of the story. Other researchers say that men are more likely to tell more serious lies, such as making a promise which they have no intention of fulfilling. This is the kind of lie politicians and businessmen are supposed to be particularly skilled at: the lie from which the liar hopes to profit or gain in some way.
Research has also been done into the way people's behaviour changes in a number of small, apparently unimportant ways when they lie. It has been found that if they are sitting down at the time, they tend to move about in their chairs more than usual. To the trained observer, they are saying, 'I wish I were somewhere else now.' They also tend to touch certain parts of the face more often, in particular the nose. One explanation of this may be that lying causes a slight increase in blood pressure. The tip of the nose is very sensitive to such changes and the increased pressure makes it itch.
Another gesture which gives liars away is what the writer Desmond Morris in his book Manwatching calls ‘the mouth cover’. He says there are several typical forms of this, such as covering part of the mouth with the fingers, touching the upper-lip or putting a finger of the hand at one side of the mouth. Such a gesture can be interpreted as an unconscious attempt on the part of the liar to stop him or herself from lying.
Of course, such gestures as rubbing the nose or covering the mouth, or squirming about in a chair cannot be taken as proof that the speaker is lying. They simply tend to occur more frequently in this situation. It is not one gesture alone that gives the liar away but a whole number of things, and in particular the context in which the lie is told.
(1)According to the passage, a 'white lie' seems to be a lie
A that other people believe.
B that other people don't believe.
C told in order to avoid offending someone.
D told in order to gain some advantage.
(2)Research suggests that women
A are better at telling less serious lies than men are.
B generally lie far more than men do.
C make promises they intend to break more often than men do.
D lie at parties more often than men do.
(3)One reason people sometimes rub their noses when they lie is that
A they wish they were somewhere else.
B the nose is sensitive to physical changes caused by lying.
C they want to cover their mouths.
D they are trying to stop themselves from telling lies.
(4)It would appear from the passage that
A there is no simple way of finding out if someone is lying.
B certain gestures are proof that the speaker is lying.
C certain gestures are proof of lying only if they are repeated frequently.