Posts Tagged ‘lies

28
Sep
09

A season for strange telly ads

Is anyone else bothered by those ads for the Referendum Commission? They pride themselves on being independent and interested only in informing us on the Lisbon treaty, but I find myself wondering if this is entirely true. The points they chose to exemplify in the ads seem to specifically counter claims made by the No side.

I suppose it could be argued that they are obliged to make particular reference to the No side’s claims, as they have been the chief instigators of mistruths in this debate. I’ve certainly been making similar claims here. However, I don’t this a reasonable explanation for these ads. The purpose of the commission is to serve as a resource for people seeking accurate information. If they’re taking it upon themselves chase down perceived untruths, then in naturally follows they have an agenda.

There’s also the downright strange role played by the commission last year. I recall some higher-up claiming they were free to take a side should one camp start taking the piss. In once sense this might be reasonable, but it hardly speaks well of their claim to be independent. I was told too of a press conference they held where one journalist asked a particularly challenging question, and they didn’t have a clue. They spent a good ten minute desperately leafing through books and leaflets. “It was a joy to behold,” was how the journalist who told me about it described it.

I’m not accusing anyone of being biased here. I’m just saying it all seems a bit odd to me. This aside, you know what other ad is bothering me? That Cadbury’s one with the giant anthropomorphised cocoa bean, with its distinctly Africanised features. Now perhaps I’m being over-sensitive, but it seems to me that they’ve gotten a bunch of dancing, slack-jawed black people and stuck them on my telly, seemingly with the expectation that I’d be ok with laughing at them.

09
Sep
09

Lies and the liars who tell them

I was in the Post Office this morning when I happened upon a remarkable piece of literature. It’s a newspaper titled The Sovereign Independent (which strikes me as a bit redundant), and just to give you an idea as to its content, the splash story is headlined: “The vote to end ALL VOTES.”

Yes, this is a paper dedicated to highlighting the evils of the Lisbon treaty. “Creating fear” is the charge the splash article levels at proponents of the treaty, claiming, “in the midst of the economic crisis, they are confident that people are afraid enough to vote on something they haven’t read.” Just to remind you, the headline of this article is “the vote to end all votes”, suggesting this is not a referendum so much as the plot to The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer. There’s only one side that can be accused of creating fear here.

The totalitarian talk continues within. There’s a piece on the prevalence of the EU flag. Apparently it’s “popping up like swastikas”. On our cars and on our money! “This is just another example of tip-toe totalitarianism.” I could go on but you get the idea. The best part for me is the back page, which contains a piece explaining the paper’s purpose. “We are a non-partisan newspaper and we only publish facts and not personal opinions.” Yes, much like the facts I’ve just highlighted.

It goes on: “We are at the most important historical point in all Irelands history, indeed in the history of the world – because we are being presented with the biggest assault on our liberty since independence.” You might recognise this as opinion, not fact, and might I add lousy, lousy grammar. The next paragraph tells us: “The vast majority of the European people do not want to live under the Lisbon Treaty any more than the Irish do.” How do they know? Did they ask them all (this really is Michael Rimmer stuff)? Again, opinion, not fact.

Here are some more facts. The front page story also says of the Yes side: “These are the same politicians who encouraged borrowing, who created the housing bubble, and who recently bailed out the banks at the tax-payer’s [seemingly just one tax-payer] expense.” Yes, except the housing bubble was a blunder of the FF-PD coalition. All major parties excluding Sinn Féin are supporting the treaty, and the shinners are simply reverting to the standard anti-EU stance, so we might easily exclude them. Also, this is a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, not a survey on how well the government handled the economy.

This is why I’m voting yes. I look to the No side for a rational argument and I see science fiction plots instead. Cóir have put up posters in my town (I assume they’re elsewhere) stating: “€200 million lost in fisheries. Farming is next.” Notice the absolute language used. They don’t even bother employing the Fox News trick of posing it as a question: “Is farming next?” Either Cóir are somehow privy to the EU’s agricultural plans, or they’re just trying to scare us into voting no.

Anyway, to change the subject completely, I’m off to bed now as I have an early start. I have an interview in the morning. An actual interview! I’d almost forgotten what those are.

22
Jan
09

CVs and the truth, or what exactly is meant by “conversational” German?

A constant moral dilemma for unemployed people is the stretching of truth on CVs. Of course any employment service will say you should be 100% honest, but do people really do this? I heard on Ryan Tubridy’s show during the week that 70% of people have admitted to lying on a CV.

I ask this as I’m in the process of applying for a certain job, the advert for which asks I would be willing to travel to places such as Germany. Now it doesn’t state that being able to speak German is a requirement, but I suspect highlighting that I studied German in college would be a major bonus.

The trouble is that I only studied it for one year, being one of the subjects I dropped after first year. And the amount I remember extends to being able to say my name and asking what’s wrong. Somehow I don’t think this can be described as a conversational knowledge of the language. And yet that’s what I want to write on my CV.

Is this dishonest, or even a strategically bad move? I mean, they could ask me to prove my abilities with Deutsch. Where would I be then? On the other hand, I did do it for a year. That’s got to be worth something, right?

I really don’t know what’s the right, or clever, move here.