The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

by Dashiell Hammett

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The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Liz » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:11 pm

Pg. 102 (1st page of Chapter 19):
Gilbert says to Nick:


He pursed his lips, wrinkled his forehead, said judicially: It’s hard to say exactly. Mamma’s good at hiding things sometimes, but she’s never much good at making them up. It’s a funny thing—I suppose you’ve noticed it—the people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they’re easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You’d think they’d be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all. I suppose you’ve noticed that, haven’t you?”
“Yes”


Do you agree?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:33 pm

Yes, I do. Certainly in this book. :lol:

But I've noticed that with others in real life. They start with a small little lie and get away with it. Then they get more and more bold, until they trip up themselves. Usually a shoplifter or employee who is stealing. They always have an answer for everything, but often don't know the question.

In terms of crime, we see it every day. Some husband kills his wife, then reports her missing to the police, while he is conveniently out of town or at the office. In every case, I and the police will always suspect a family member first, then look at other possible suspects. The guilty family member always thinks they are getting away with it, they've thought everything out and they're so helpful in the investigation...even pointing out what might have happened or how or where. They never seem to realize the police are watching them from the beginning and just waiting for them to make a mistake...or know too much.

It's in every crime drama and every night on the news. Someone always thinks they'll get away with it. :mad:

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby winona » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:43 pm

In my "job" I see it everyday! Most folks are honest! As in took shoes off, put them in the box- back on the shelf -wearing new shoes- paid for em he did!!
Because love has your face and body .....and your hands are tender and your mouth is sweet-and God has made no other eyes like yours. Walter Benton

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:32 am

...the people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they’re easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You’d think they’d be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all.

Interesting observation. Do you think it might be because of conceit? That the liar thinks they're so good at getting away with a lie...and of course, no one else could be so clever as to fool the "liar" with a lie, so they must be telling the truth?

Or maybe it's just because the chronic liar is mired so deep in deceit that they can no longer tell the truth from a lie when they hear it?

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby stroch » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:26 am

I knew someone who appropriated every interesting event in other people's lives into his own anecdotes--a seagull swooped in and stole food off of his plate, he had lunch every month with Walker Percy, he saw a panther running through a cotton field...whatever.

Some things were surely false...I was the one who saw the panther; some could have possibly happened...lunch with Walker Percy; some probably were true...the seagull, but who knew?

We finally realized he just could not tell fact from fiction, whether it was something being said to him or something he was saying, it was all one big malestrom of words. He was a writer, and always made everything interesting, like Mimi. So I think Gilbert is right.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby ladylinn » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:05 am

I do agree that liars are foolish. They seem to have low self esteem and therefore want others to think highly of them - so they stretch the truth or put themselves in situations of others. Those who lie think they are the only ones that do lie. But in life I have found that the truth most always wins out.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:36 am

Theresa wrote:
...the people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they’re easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You’d think they’d be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all.

Interesting observation. Do you think it might be because of conceit? That the liar thinks they're so good at getting away with a lie...and of course, no one else could be so clever as to fool the "liar" with a lie, so they must be telling the truth?

Or maybe it's just because the chronic liar is mired so deep in deceit that they can no longer tell the truth from a lie when they hear it?


Hi Theresa, I think it's a little of both. People who lie habitually for the purpose of getting over on other people are conceited, they think they are smarter than the average bear (to quote Yogi); so they falsely think no one could get over on them. On the other hand, people who lie habitually just because they want people to like them or envy them, I think do get mired in their own fiction and may eventually be unable to tell a lie from the truth anymore.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:40 am

I was afraid no one would answer this yesterday afternoon. And now there are so many interesting ideas here. :applause:

Interesting just how the mind works.

And I'm just the opposite. I'm not a good liar, so I usually tell the truth. But I don't trust others.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:03 pm

Theresa wrote:
...the people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they’re easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You’d think they’d be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all.

Interesting observation. Do you think it might be because of conceit? That the liar thinks they're so good at getting away with a lie...and of course, no one else could be so clever as to fool the "liar" with a lie, so they must be telling the truth?

Or maybe it's just because the chronic liar is mired so deep in deceit that they can no longer tell the truth from a lie when they hear it?

That's what I think, Theresa. They have blurred the lines of truth and lie so completely that they no longer know where it is.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:28 pm

Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid. :capnjack:
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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby magpie » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:52 pm

Theresa wrote:
...the people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they’re easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You’d think they’d be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all.

Interesting observation. Do you think it might be because of conceit? That the liar thinks they're so good at getting away with a lie...and of course, no one else could be so clever as to fool the "liar" with a lie, so they must be telling the truth?

Or maybe it's just because the chronic liar is mired so deep in deceit that they can no longer tell the truth from a lie when they hear it?


I agree with your 2nd suggestion, Theresa. They're so caught up in remembering their own lies that they don't see it in others. Makes me weary just to think about it.

Appropriate quote, DITHOT. :grin:
I'm having a thought here. . . .
. . if you simply try to tell the truth you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
--C.S. Lewis

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:17 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid. :capnjack:

That is one (it's hard to pick just one) of my favorite Captain Jack quotes.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #8 - Are liars the easiest to fool?

Unread postby Buster » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:04 pm

Thought I'd quote Nick himself on this one:
(He's talking about Studsy)
"He'd of thought I was trying to put something over on him," I explained."To a mugg like him, once a sleuth always a sleuth and I'd rather lie to him than have him think I'm lying. Have you got a cigarette? He really trusts me, in a way."
"Were you telling the truth when you said Wynant didn't kill her?'
"I don't know. My guess is I was."


I think that he touches on yet another aspect of lying - presenting opinion as fact. Of course there's also the huge category of lying to oneself...


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