The Great Big Lie

You want to know the Great Big Lie? The lie so big, it deserves to be titled with capital letters? Here it is:

I've been lying to you. Every single time I write. Every single word. It's all one big lie. Every Facebook post, every Twitter tweet, every InstaTumblrPinterest post. Crafted. Sculpted. Made to make you react.

And it's not just me. It's everyone. Everyone who writes, everyone who "shares", everyone who makes anything available to you, moment by moment. Mainstream media, bloggers and your Facebook friends. Poets, journalists, novelists and memoirists.

Liars. The whole lot of them. And I know, because I'm one of them.

I lie to you, even now. Every single word of this post so far, and every word after this sentence, is a fucking lie. I'm crafting this very sentence to illicit the maximum possible reaction from you. Leaving it so open and honest, it's bound to make you think either "There's no way..." or "That fucking dick!"

Either way, I win. Because you just felt something.

And that's the nature of the whole world now. Feel. FEEL. Feel deeper. Feel more. Feel at odds. Feel compelled. Feel connected.

Feel. That's all we want. We want you to feel. We want you to share. We want you to "like" and "retweet" and "tumbl" and whatever the fuck else, we don't even care about the technology or the platform anymore. Just fucking feel.

That video of the kid with autism who scored tons of three-pointers during a high-school football game? Carefully edited to make you feel. Aired on CBS to make you feel. Posted by me the other day to make you feel.

That interview with the kid at Sandy Hook about how scary it was that some psychopath came into her school and shot up everyone she knew? Feel that shit. Watch it and take it in and FEEL it.

Eagles scooping up kids. The funny Gangnam-style spoof of the hour. The Jesus-laden prayer post your friend put on Facebook. The meme picture of the cat and the sardonic statement.


And when that wears off, don't worry -- we've got more.

I wrote the geek girl piece how I did specifically to draw a line: I made fucking sure it got the people predisposed to hate me hating me, and the people predisposed to love me loving me. In fact, that's every piece. Every time.

Your favorite writer? The honest guy who tells you how it is? It's all a lie. It's all an act. It's all on purpose. It's all to make you feel whatever it takes to get you to keep going. Keep reading. Keep subscribing.

Validate me. Tell me I'm worth the time it takes to read what I write. Let me know how much you really care. Share my post. Comment. Respond. Tell your friends. Buy my book. Promote my CNN and Huffington Post articles.

Welcome to the Great Big Lie. I am honest; yes. I use my honesty as a weapon. I point it at your head and I say "FEEL!" and you do exactly what I tell you. You feel. You share. You tell your friends "This guy Joe, man... He tells it like it is!" I share with you a story about telling a geeky kid that life is going to be great because he's learning far earlier than everyone else that being yourself is the most vital thing anyone can ever learn or do. You know why I share that with you?

Because you'll feel something. And every single time you do, I win.

I'm playing with your emotions. We all are. We, the writers. We, the crafters of your daily entertainment and information and intake. We, the puppet masters of your heart and your mind.

All day, every day. And for some reason, we think it all matters. And that's why we keep doing it.

And there  is the core of The Great Big Lie: we think we matter.

If I don't write what you need to read today, who will? If I don't make a difference in your life, who's going to take up the slack?

If you can't thank me for awakening you to your own emotions, who will you thank? What will validate me as a human being if I'm not getting what I need, by giving you what you need?

And because it takes two for a lie to exist, you're going to have to face the fact that you're part of this. You're in on the gig. You love the lie. You know you do. You read CNN and watch Fox News and quote MSNBC and giggle at your favorite author because you know, deep down inside, what you just consumed was made just for you. It tickled your funny bone or incited your rage or otherwise made you feel because it was carefully crafted to do so.

And you know it.
And you love it.

You eat it up like Frito's, and you pretend it's nutrition. You don't question -- not because you're stupid, but because you simply don't want to. You want more than anything for it all to be real; for it all to be true.

It's not. Not a single bit of it. Not even this post. This whole thing is manufactured and carefully crafted to make you think "What the fuck?" and "Is he serious?" and "What a fucking dick" all at once. It's written in such a way to make you think I'm actually being sarcastically honest by breaking some sort of fourth wall.

That's exactly what I'm doing. Because that's exactly what you want. You don't want the truth, you want the "Truth." Packaged and designed and crafted and user-tested and alpha-released and beta-invite-only.

And I, and every other writer on the planet, are ready to give it to you in gigantic ladle-fulls.

Buy my book. Read my blog. Like my posts. Retweet my tweets. Tumbl my... Whatever the fuck Tumblr posts are. Just whatever you do, feel something while you do it.

Outrage. Anger. Happiness. Joy. Annoyance. You think I give a shit? The only reason I care is to find out if my intended goal was met. That's all. It's a metric, nothing more. If I set out to annoy you and instead make you laugh, you think I'm disappointed? Not even slightly. As long as you share and like and comment and react, I'm right as rain.

And there it is. The Great Big Lie. The one thing every writer wishes you didn't know, especially the "honest" ones. No one spends the amount of time we do crafting the things we craft without some sort of agenda. This is 100% true 100% of the time.

And you can trust me, because hey... Why would I lie about this?


The Best Compliment Of All Time?

For reasons I'll get into next week, I've been severely distracted and away from my normal blogging duties. I have been ambling around with writing lately, hoping to return with something worthy of returning to you with, when this message appeared on my phone via Facebook this morning:

I've gotten messages from service personnel serving overseas. I've gotten messages from teens, adults, men, women and transgenders. I've been complimented on many facets of the things I've written, whether they be funny, serious, uplifting, controversial, blunt or otherwise.

But never have I been told my book is the greatest jail read ever.

I'm officially flattered. And with that, I'm officially back. Hope you don't mind.