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Image / Editorial

Liars are having a bit of a moment


by Louise Bruton
07th Feb 2019
Liars are having a bit of a moment

In the big, bad world of pop culture, liars are having a bit of a moment. Between Netflix’s Fyre and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud (the two film documentaries that capture the hot mess that is Fyre Festival and its creator Billy McFarland), the New Yorker profile on Dan Mallory (the author who made up multiple timelines of his own life – depending on who he was talking to or working with – to get ahead in the publishing world), and the news that both Shonda Rhimes and Lena Dunham are making separate TV series based on the life of the Russian-born Anna Delvey (the con artist who scammed New York socialites out of thousands of dollars), lying is very in right now. And in a beautiful twist, where two liars merge, in a report from The New York Post, it would appear that Delvey may have scammed McFarland after she squatted for four months in his SoHo loft back in 2013.

They became spin doctors to their own ego and people bought their stories.

As it stands, McFarland is serving a six-year sentence in federal prison; Mallory’s 2018 novel The Woman in the Window has been adapted into a movie starring Amy Adams and Julianne Moore, set to be released later this year; and Delvey is awaiting trial for charges including grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and theft of services. Her trial begins on February 25th. But these people aren’t just liars, they’re mimics. They watched how other people succeeded in doing the things that they wanted to be – rich, famous, popular – and they copied them.

They knew which brands to wear and they knew which hotels they should pose for Instagram photos in. If they were seen at the right parties with the right people, their stories checked out. They fed the people around them lies that didn’t need immediate proof and with a reworked version of the American Dream, these people went to extreme lengths to get what they wanted but instead of doing an honest’s day work, they cut back on the honesty and cut back on the actual work. They became spin doctors to their own ego and people bought their stories.

Cheap thrills

It’s indicative to the world that we live in that they got so far with their lies. With Fyre Festival, McFarland convinced people that $12,000 was a reasonable price to pay for VIP treatment at a luxury festival. These people handed over their money because they wanted to think that they deserved VIP treatment that cost $12,000. He sold the idea over Instagram and went so they could then post their elite photos to Instagram. If they were seen there, they could afford to be there and their followers would then know that. With Mallory, perhaps people believed the hype that he created about himself because they wanted to claim that they knew this best-selling author before he made the big time. Second-hand success can be a cheap thrill for people too.

These people created their own narratives but these narratives not only came at a cost to them, but to the people who surrounded them.

The same could be said for Delvey. She led a fabulous lifestyle and people wanted to be part of that. Because they were wealthy already, they didn’t think twice if they had to occasionally put things like taxi rides and hotels on their own credit cards because Delvey would get them back eventually. Where us normal people do rounds of drinks, super rich people do rounds of shopping sprees, champagne lunches and last-minute holidays to exotic locations. Money flies in every direction and no one really knows just how much they’re losing until the bank phones up to talk about some irregularities on their account.

What a life, eh? I had €22 in my bank account last weekend. Nothing irregular there. These people created their own narratives but these narratives not only came at a cost to them, but to the people who surrounded them. Workers went unpaid, colleagues were left looking and feeling like idiots and friends were left high, broke and dry.

Liars being exposed

Liars may be having a moment but truth is the winner here. 

With outright liars holding huge positions in politics, entertainment and wellness culture for so long, we’ve got a hunger for truth-telling and that’s why we love these stories. Liars are being exposed and that’s exciting. For so long, our online feeds were edited, filtered and framed in such a way that no one’s birthday party could look lame or no one’s baby could look ugly (well…) We accepted lies at face value.  We knew we were being lied to – in a non-political side note, remember when Kylie Jenner first told us that her lips were bigger just because she was using lip liner?  Simpler times – and we just accepted those lies with a shrug.

But as those lies snowballed, we started living out some sort of real-life Fyre Festival. We crave stories of McFarland and Fyre Festival, Mallory and Delvey because we like lies. It starts off small but it grows into something much bigger and we are sitting and waiting for the bigger liars to be exposed.

Liars may be having a moment but truth is the winner here. 

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