Weekend Words: Lies

“Truth exists; only lies are invented.”

Vincenzo Danti, “Honour Triumphant over Falsehood” (1561, front view), marble, height: 187 cm, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence (image via Web Gallery of Art)

Last week, Hyperallergic Weekend began its new series, Drawing in a Time of Fear & Lies, with “Various Dismal Futures” (2016) by William Powhida, and continues this week with “Schlongface” (2016) by Judith Bernstein.

How shall I speak thee, or thy power address, 460
Thou god of our idolatry, the Press?
By thee, religion, liberty, and laws,
Exert their influence, and advance their cause
By thee, worse plagues than Pharaoh’s land befell,
Diffused, make earth the vestibule of hell
Thou fountain, at which drink the good and wise;
Thou ever-bubbling spring of endless lies;
Like Eden’s dread probationary tree,
Knowledge of good and evil is from thee!

—William Cowper, “The Progress of Error”

Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.

—Edgar Watson Howe

A Truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent

—William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”

Their delight is in lies; they give good words with their mouth, but curse with their heart.

—Psalms 62:4

There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.

—Winston Churchill

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

—George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”

I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

—Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

When war enters a country
It produces lies like sand.

—Anonymous, German origin

No mask like open truth to cover lies,
As to go naked is the best disguise.

—William Congreve, The Double Dealer

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

—Samuel Butler

Truth exists; only lies are invented.

—George Braque

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

—Benjamin Disraeli

She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake.

—Margot Asquith, about Lady Desborough

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.

—Lucille Ball

The Social Contract is nothing more or less than a vast conspiracy of human beings to lie to and humbug themselves for the general Good. Lies are the mortar that bind the savage individual man into the social masonry.

—H. G. Wells, Love and Mr Lewisham

The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

Swindon: What will history say?
Burgoyne: History, sir, will tell lies as usual.

—George Bernard Shaw, The Devil’s Disciple

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