02 December 2008

You can't say you're a liar

From Family Guy:
"Chris, everything I say is a lie. Except that. And that. And that. And that. And that. And that. And that. And that."


Joseph said...

The Family Guy had an opportunity to introduce countable ordinals to the TV-watching public.

Sean Henderson said...

You can say you're a liar, just not that you always lie.

AgainstWords said...

Actually, you can, just by adding an obviously false conjunct.

"There are two things you should always remember: I always lie, and 2+2=5."

This doesn't imply the truth of the first conjunct, of course, but if you scrupulously follow this formula whenever you want to tell a truth without breaking your moral commitment to the falsehood, people will probably be inclined to believe you more than if you were merely averagely honest.

unapologetic said...

AW: that sort of rules-lawyering sounds like either RPG geekery or religion.

Hey wait, there is something both sides can agree on!

gire said...

isn't it the same to say:
"this statement is false" ?

AgainstWords said...

Unapologetic: I see the connection to RPG rules-lawyering. But religion?

I think the 'religious' tendency would be to use rhetoric merely than the formal-logical approach of appending a conjunct. That is --- to obscure or simplify the rules, rather than technically adhere through awkward manoevres.

(An interesting question: what would rhetoric look like if its purpose was to obscure the fact that you aren't precisely telling a lie?)

Now if I said that a moral obligation to always lie can be fulfilled despite a lifetime of unrepentent honesty, by telling a sufficiently heinous lie on your deathbed, perhaps *that* would be a religious form of rules-lawyering.

unapologetic said...

You're thinking of the wrong religion. Sorry, I forgot that "religion" on the internet is always taken to mean fundamentalist Christianity.

JustJoeP said...

Joseph, the vast majority of the Family Guy target audience wouldn't understand or be interested in countable ordinals, unless they could be covered with nacho cheese or double dipped in cheap chocolate.

unapologetic said...

I wouldn't be so quick to judge, JJP. Family Guy is a surprisingly literate show, which mixes high- and low-brow humor very deftly. The layers of reference, and self-reference, are deeper than most television shows out there of any genre. I'd be willing to bet their demographic skews better-educated than, say, that of The Simpsons