Burt Prelutsky

There are good lies and there are bad lies, and not just on a golf course. Good lies are those that make me laugh. For instance, the NBA recently held its pre-draft camp in Orlando, Florida, and they discovered that the one thing these college prospects had in common, aside of course from a reluctance to play defense, was that a large number of them have been lying about their height. Memphis center Joey Dorsey, Memphis guard Derrick Rose and Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson, weren’t really 6-9, 6-4 and 6-4, as advertised, but were 6-6, 6-1 and 6-1, respectively. UCLA’s Kevin Love wasn’t 6-10, but actually a tad under 6-8. Kansas State’s Michael Beasley was 6-7, not 6-10, and USC’s Davon Jefferson was a full three inches shy of 6-8. Not only wasn’t Tennessee Martin’s Lester Hudson not 6-3, he wasn’t even a six-footer.

All of this is very peculiar for a couple of reasons. One, I find the notion that guys who have to stoop down to clear doorways feel compelled to lie about their height pretty darn amusing. Two, what’s the point? Psychological warfare? If I’m, say, 6-10 and my opponent claims to be my size, but is only 6-7, am I supposed to start wondering if maybe I’m really 7-1? Frankly, I don’t see how that will throw off my game in the least.

But when it comes to lying about things that really matter, you can’t beat those on the left. Back in the bad old days of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union built what were called Potemkin Villages. These were show places designed to convince gullible American tourists that the Soviet Union was the workers’ paradise they claimed it to be. But Stalin had a lot of help dispensing his propaganda. He had the New York Times man in Moscow, Walter Duranty, to carry his water. Or in Stalin’s case, make that blood. Even though Duranty knew that Stalin intentionally murdered millions of Ukrainians, starving them to death, he kept quiet about it, instead filing glowing reports about Stalin’s five year economic plans, going so far as to report that Stalin had become a truly great statesman.

My understanding of it is that Duranty wasn’t even a Communist parroting the party line, but simply a reporter who lied because he enjoyed the money he was paid by the Times, the perks that Stalin provided to his favorite parrot and his status as the most famous journalist in the world, all of which would have been lost to him if he had reported the truth about Stalin’s butchery. What’s more, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his despicable lies.