Sometime in the future, there will be kids sitting around smoking weed, wearing berets and drinking whiskey. Those kids will talk about us, the most fucked up generation. We had it all, we had a hip name (Gen X), we had college degrees, we had cool jobs that took us to the most awesome places, but we were all big fat liars. Jason Blair, Stephen Glass, James Frey, and all the rest. We wrote what we wanted to, said it was true, but it was all a fucking lie.
We will be called the Embellishers. I’m guilty of this too. I cannot tell the whole truth anymore. Every story has to be bigger and funnier and more outrageous than the next. I used to think this was because I was the second child. I had to embellish in order to get any goddamned attention. Now I know it’s because I’m a product of my generation. I am the best (and worst) liar. I must tell 100 lies a day. Some of it is self defense, but honestly (ha) most of the time I just do it to get by. I’m so used to doing it, sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve done it until someone says, “No you didn’t!” and then I stop, think and remember, no, I actually didn’t. Then I lie again and say, “Yeah! Of course I did!”
Look, we wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. Clearly, even after the Glass and Blair incidents we still get into trouble (I’m looking at you GWB…) and yet, we don’t come out and say, “Fuck, I fucking lied. I needed the people to believe this story, so I made up facts.”
I know why we do it. We do it because we are also the generation that gets told every damned minute we try to do something creative or innovative, that we are just an echo, a shadow, a pale imitation of what has come before us. Do we have a choice? Fuck yeah, and we choose to be liars. Because it’s cool. It’s fine. Our GODDAMNED President gets away with it, why can’t we?
Truth be told, I could give a rats ass about James Frey and the fracas that is surrounding that book. Did the book change public policy? Did the book send us to war? Did the book spy on people illegally? No. The book made some goddamned housewives cry and now Oprah is mad. What I’d really like to see is all of us (you, too, Oprah) getting up in arms about a group of “Swift Boat Veterans” smearing an actual war hero with lies, getting furious about a string of lies that mislead Congress and our country into going to war, not about a goddamned memoir.
We lie. Everyone does it. (I lied at least twice in this very post.) Our generation just happens to do it and make buckets of money, not kill thousands of men.