Essays that Lie

via Blog U.: Essays that Lie – Provost Prose – Inside Higher Ed.

This certainly caught my eye. We’ve heard a lot about plagiarism and it’s easy enough to understand that using the work of another is fairly rampant. I personally run many of my papers through Pre-Grade to make sure they sound like me and not someone else (Dan Brown?? 😉 ).

But this blog entry by Herman Berliner addresses not the using of someone’s work but claiming to do something you haven’t done.

The dad also talked about his son’s essay which he felt was also very compelling. The essay outlined a series of activities undertaken by the son to help economically disadvantaged youth. I commented to the dad that I was enormously impressed by both the quality and quantity of the son’s community engagement. The dad’s response, which surprised me, was that he wasn’t sure that his son had done all that was claimed but that the essay was nevertheless very compelling. I very quickly responded that I have zero respect for someone who takes credit for important work that the person never actually did. And the friend responded just as quickly that his son had done all the work claimed.

Look at the dad’s progression. Essay is compelling. Did son do all that? Doesn’t matter because essay is compelling. Called on it. Son did all work claimed.

I’m left wide-eyed. A compelling essay is more important than a truthful one. We live in fantasy land. Unfortunate, but we hear stories about people who have embellished their tale and flat out lied. What happens when they get caught? Sometimes they are let go, relieved of their duties, moved to another position where they can do less damage. But sometimes they are defended. Last year when I was looking for a job, I ran across an article about people who lied on their resume. I’m talking LYING, not exaggerating, not fudging, not tweaking. Lying. And yet when those lies were discovered in the pre-employment process, many of those people were hired anyway.

I just want to know why truthfulness has been devalued to this point.

2 thoughts on “Essays that Lie

  1. Could it be partly that Christian Scholars and church leaders have become more and more the same way about scripture, in recent centuries? If facticity doesn’t matter to the church, then where should it matter?

  2. That’s certainly got to be a component. Scripture is not considered the authority it once was. And as you point out, even within the church, it’s open to wide ranges of interpretation from KJVO to just a nice story book.

    With no authority, what are we to measure things like truthfulness against.

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