The Garret Tree
Saturday, September 30, 2006
  On liars

In Robert Heinlein's 1957 novel Citizen of the Galaxy, a story that's been one of my favourites since I was a kid, the father figure, Baslim the Cripple, is trying to encourage his adopted son Thorby to live an honest life. It's speculative fiction, of course, and Baslim, an intelligence agent, is masquerading as a beggar in the capital of the Nine Worlds, to find out about the slave trade. Baslim was able to buy Thorby in a slave auction and rescue him from that life, but, of course, since Baslim is a beggar, that means Thorby becomes what today we would call a street kid. And so he falls into the company of thieves and liars.

Baslim then tells Thorby

Once a man gets a reputation as a liar, he might as well be struck dumb, for people do not listen to the wind.
I wish what Baslim said was true, if it did, it could apply to politicians. But, even if it did, the spindoctors would have giant fans to redirect the wind.

But ordinary people don't have spindoctors. And if a friend or even an acquintance lies, it is like the wind. It passes by.

The irony, of course,is that the hero, Baslim, was a liar himself. He was an intelligence agent, in deep cover, and lying is part of the job description.

Just a thought on a Saturday night.

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

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