Truth or Consequences

Oakmont Rotary Club
  • John Brodey

Can someone explain to me why the networks think it’s a good idea to recreate an old classic show and act like it’s an original idea? Hawaii 5-0, Magnum PI, Miami Vice. The kids who still watch TV, and there aren’t many of them, don’t remember those shows so there seems to be no advantage in recycling the names. And most of us who saw the originals had the Jack Lord and Tom Selleck experience; thanks anyway been there etc. But there is one old TV show that’s due for a comeback…you guessed it, Truth or Consequences. I can’t exactly remember what the consequences actually were as host Jack Bailey played judge and jury, but they were probably mild by today’s standards.

Actually, it might have set the stage for making lying acceptable as a form of entertainment. It’s been off the air for 30 years and I think we need to revisit the concept of truth, lying and consequences in general. We of a certain age have been around long enough to be alarmed by the speed at which the truth has become increasingly marginalized. Errors of omission, white lies, playing loosely with the truth, ‘misspeaking’ etc. are all euphemisms for something which, by definition, does not permit such gray areas.

Once the stock in trade of politicians, lawyers, business moguls and bored husbands, lying is not okay. We can’t blame truth’s demise on one person or moment. During my second career in the music business I once worked for a man who, now years later, is one of the most powerful names in the business. But for all his smarts, charm and skill, he lied so much that I used to say; ‘He lies even when he doesn’t have to.’ We have now come to a point where no one can assume what anyone else is saying is true. It used to be a simple handshake that established trust, but that now seems so old fashioned and quaint. We all know that when we become desensitized to breaches in ethical standards of behavior, the consequences are no longer a source of entertainment…they can be tragic and dangerous.

As I sit in the VOM Rotary meeting every week, I am constantly reminded of how important the truth is in all parts of everyone’s life. Rotary was founded a hundred years ago by five businessmen who formed a club whose membership would adhere to an ideal of truth and fairness. It was an ethical ‘handshake’ if you will, one that assured mutual trust. To this day we observe those very principles in the 4

Way Test by closing our meeting with their recitation: Is it the Truth, Is it fair to all concerned, Will it build goodwill and better friendships, Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Is it really true, as Jack Nicholson once intoned, ‘you can’t handle the truth’. Maybe Jack Nicholson was wrong after all: ‘We CAN handle the and we deserve it.

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