Thursday, March 06, 2008

About honesty

Out of curiosity, last night I watched "The Moment of Truth." The contestants on this reality, win-me-some-money show have been through a polygraph exam on 50 personal questions, 21 of which are chosen for the show. They have to answer truthfully in front of their family members (and all of America), with the answers from their earlier polygraph test revealing if they are being honest or not. I have to say I was briefly entertained and then sorely disappointed.

The tag line at the beginning of the show is, "Is there an honest person left in America?" One of the contestants questions was "Have you ever said a credit card charge wasn't yours when in fact it was?" The girl had to answer honestly that yes, she's done that before (because that's what her polygraph would later reveal). If she said no when she really had, her lie would give her away, and she'd lose and be off the show. Here's where I'm disappointed: an "honest person" is not defined by the liars who are willing to admit to their lies on national television for a couple grand, it's the people who don't lie in the first place. So, great. The lady is a dishonest person who got away with it, but the show labels her "honest" and gives her $100,000. What's up with that?

The questions get increasingly personal, and have to do with whether or not you've been faithful to your spouse, and if there are secrets that would destroy your marriage, etc. (And even more that are not appropriate for my blog or my ears!) It wasn't entertaining. It was just sad. Sad that people aren't honest with their spouse. Sad that people aren't faithful to their spouse. What can a marriage be based on if not total honesty?

I have to conclude that I would never be cast on the show for several reasons: I don't do dishonest things like cheat on my spouse or with my creditors. (Makes for a pretty boring show!) Secondly, in an instance where I would have to confess a shortcoming or prejudice of mine, I can guarantee that my husband already knows about it: there are no secrets between us. And lastly, who would want to humiliate them self by answering questions about how they negatively perceive other people? That sounds a lot like "hanging out your dirty laundry" for all to see. It seems kind of pointless to me. (Lets not forget to mention that I would never voluntarily participate in this kind of thing anyway)

Anyway, here's TV's sorry attempt to see if anyone out there is honest. What a waste of my time!

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

You've reinforced my decision to not have television in our home!

Elizabeth said...

It is the sad truth that "honesty" is now defined as someone who admits dishonesty rather than someone who is true blue. Frankly, I am genuinely curious as to how they advertised for the people to be on the show. I mean really, why would someone sign up to be caught lying on National TV? (Although to be perfectly accurate, it isn't National TV anymore, it is International Cable Networks.) Did people truly think they could beat the polygraph test? Were the producers perfectly candid about what these people would be doing? How veracious is the polygraph test, anyway? Could someone have been labeled "lying" who was actually extremely nervous being filmed? In all honesty, the point of many reality shows isn't up front to begin with. I'm glad Jenny, at least, has the integrity to speak up for real truth. Three cheers for trusty, genuine, straightforward reality!

Anonymous said...

One of our favorite marital rules is this: if there is something I don't want my spouse to know, I tell him/her right away.
Signed,
Still married after 37 years.