Try not to misread this

By ANNE DONNELLI was shocked by a recent defense offered by an office seeker in another part of the country.  He defended his lies by saying he “misspoke.”  What’s your take on this?-An Honest ReaderStill maintaining he’s “going to tell the people of Connecticut the truth” (May 27, in Litchfield, Connecticut, in this case about other matters) Richard Blumenthal, candidate for U.S. Senate and currently Attorney General of Connecticut had been caught being quite untruthful.  Well, we the people tend to soften that (particularly when describing our own wanderings) by saying, “less than truthful.”Connecticut is one of those little states “up there” close to the right corner of Eastern United States. Amateur geographers and ignorant jigsaw puzzle solvers have a hard time putting that one in the map correctly. (And, boy, howdy! I recently received an e-mail map puzzle with places like Mauritania and Turkmenistan. I’m amateur and ignorant. Doubt that’s news.)  Blumenthal had claimed he served as a Marine in Vietnam, but he didn’t. The New York Times broke the story. Blumenthal then stated, “On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that and I take full responsibility.” He said those remarks were “absolutely unintentional,” and that the mistake has only happened a few times out of “hundreds” of speeches he's made. He emphasized he was proud of his service in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. “Unlike many of my peers, I chose to join the military and serve my country,” he said. “I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service.” You got it – right?  “A few occasions” he had “misspoken.” And it was “absolutely unintentional.” And we’d better not take “a few misplaced words” and, say, hold that speaker responsible or suggest that truthfulness is a good thing.  Misspeak is defined (1) “to speak (as a word) incorrectly;” (2) “to express (oneself) imperfectly or incorrectly.” Thanks, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.  That second part is a more recent enlargement of a word that formerly meant simply to mispronounce a word, like saying spih-go for spigot, or to use the wrong word, like saying imply for infer. The second part of the definition of misspeak is the reason Blumenthal, his advisors (spin masters?), and speech writers felt comfortable, or at least willing, to use “misspoken” as a synonym for “lied.”            Now, let’s set something straight. Folks from both major politic parties have been caught doing this “heavy editing” of service records. They’ve also been caught lying about adultery, finances, and more. History shows a long record of fibbers, political and otherwise, and we all know it starts early. “Yes, Mom, I’ve done ALL my homework”What I’m burning about is the fake sensitivity in which all this was dressed. We are a brutal society (Hobbes, anyone?); our media reflects this rather convincingly, and yet we want it both ways. Bold and harsh and feeling entitled, we whine that we’re sensitive and denied and victimized. The easy way out; the lazy guide to morals.            “Misspoken”? Call it by its right verb – “lied.” As in “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”On the other hand, maybe there’s probably some squirming around we’d all enjoy in this softer, gentler approach to life, this Vaseline© smear on the rose-colored glasses we peer through at reality. Well, so often we think we must say harsh reality. I was thinking, for example, I’m overweight because I MIS-EAT.  “But, Doctor, I’m not responsible. I mis-ate for fifty years!”   On the other hand, I used to MIS-COOK rather regularly and convincingly.           I’m not aging, I’m MIS-YOUNGING.I became so tall by MIS-SHORTING.If I fail to speak to you, I MIS-NOTICED.If I kick you to the curb, I MIS-RAGED or maybe I MIS-ANGERED or MIS-VIOLENCED.  Well, being MIS-WILLING, I’ll never say it was a MISTAKE, even when I’m MISSPEAKING.           [ATA (According to Anne) – Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679, British philosopher) offered up this famous quote: “…the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” That’s from Leviathan, Hobbes’s major work which concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. Social contract describes a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states to maintain social order. Thanks, Wikipedia. Being amateur and ignorant, I haven’t heard all that since graduate school. Well, I probably MIS-HEARD it then. Life is so good when you’re not doing things like reading Thomas Hobbes. Ah, ignorance. But, beware of MIS-IGNORING.]