Qu'est-que c'est "little white lies:" We're off on a mission of national import. Tomorrow, we expect to do a brief Oscar preview, based on the need for Monster.
Today, we're thinking about the familiar old phrase, "(little) white lie."
Our associates at Merriam-Webster have defined the term as shown below. We keep these experts on retainer precisely for moments like this:
Definition of WHITE LIEReportedly, Hope Hicks used this incriminating term in her recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. Her statement has led to a thousand fevered pseudo-analyses. Here's one from Z. Byron Wolf, digital director of CNN Politics:
: a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.
"He told a (little) white lie as his excuse for missing the party."
WOLF (2/28/18): Hope Hicks has occasionally told fibs on behalf of her boss, but they only amounted to white lies, according to what little we've heard spill out after her closed-door testimony Tuesday with congressional investigators.Try, try, try to believe that you actually read that. Try, try, try to believe that it was written by someone employed by a major American news org.
She did not answer questions about her time at the White House, joining former President Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon in claiming those communications are privileged. And she was reticent at first to discuss the transition period. It's not exactly clear when the white lies may have occurred.
Hicks argued she hasn't had to lie about substantive issues for Trump, according to the source with knowledge of her Tuesday comments that spoke to CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb.
That the White House communications director should have to lie on behalf of her boss, who is a serial boaster, stretcher of the truth and documented outright fibber, should not be surprising.
That she would admit to even the smallest fib in the context of testimony about Russian election meddling is something else entirely. Even a white lie implies intentional misleading.
While Hicks' testimony was not before special counsel Robert Mueller, he is unlikely to take very kindly to lies, even those of the white variety. Lying to the FBI—if that's what happened here—is no joke.
Try to believe that it was written by an actual human being. Once you've convinced yourself that this analysis isn't a joke, you'll better understand the problem we humans are facing.
(We've seen similar discussions all over cable, sometimes by major players.)
We'll offer a few notes about what Hicks apparently said:
There is no transcript of what she said. There is no tape of what she said.
We can't assess the tone with which she said what she said. Did she possibly say little white lies, with the first word being abandoned to hype the outrage machine?
We've seen this subhuman folderol a million times in the past twenty years. The children seize upon some tiny remark, perhaps a comment offered in some degree of jest. The children then begin to thunder and rage about what the comment is said to mean, prove, demonstrate, imply or incriminatingly suggest.
The children don't care that they lack a tape, or a transcript, or any sense of the tone or context surrounding the comment. And let's be honest:
Even if they had a transcript or a tape, their skills wouldn't allow them to make a sensible analysis of the import of the offhand comment in question.
Will Robert Mueller's reaction to this report be what Wolf suggests? Will Mueller prove "unlikely to take very kindly to lies, even those of the white variety?"
Pray, pray, pray that he will not! If Mueller operates on the level of CNN's Wolf—if he operates on the level of those who created years of "translations" of pointless comments by Gore—then our American prospects are lost.
Anthropologists and other leading experts widely agree. We the humans just aren't very smart. We have virtually no judgment at all, not much sense of shame.
We aren't very bright and we aren't very nice. The mystery is how a bunch of jerks like us could ever have made it this far.
Tomorrow, we expect to discuss our need for Monster. That said, you got a quick preview here.
For extra credit, and please give supporting details: "Lying to the FBI—if that's what happened here—is no joke."
How pitiful was that throw-in by Wolf? Sadly shaking your head and glancing away, discuss.