The Elasticity of Truth

I believe the heart of every scandal, betrayal, and downfall at some point relates to an individuals “Elasticity of Truth” – what they present themselves as the public to be and whom they really are behind closed doors. Think of this idea as a stretched rubberband – eventually it will have to snap back into place. The farther it’s stretched, the more it will hurt when it snaps back (or possibly breaks all together).

Politicians seem to impale themselves on this idea all the time. Every election there’s always a few conservative, “champion of family values” candidates who behind closed doors parade in a concoction of vices that make Keith Richards look like a choir boy. They get caught, everyone is shocked & hurt (they were supposed to be a moral character right?), they make the public apology and then miraculously “find God” shortly after. Same formula, different people and this election looks to be no different.

I feel the Elasticity of Truth may be able to explain why Charlie Sheen can be arrested for beating his wife, get a raise, and see his show ratings skyrocket WHEREAS Tiger Woods can get caught having affairs (which is not against the law) and see his fanbase shrink and his earnings freefall.

Charlie Sheen’s public persona (a bad boy womanizing, alcoholic) is nearly identical to his private persona. The Elasticity of Truth band hardly stretches here at all and there’s no deception as to who Charlie Sheen really is. Tiger Woods on the other hand publicly portrayed himself for years as a family man while privately he was a swinging bachelor – SNAP!

I believe that all of us to some degree or another present an enhanced version of ourselves to the public (think makeup). However, the closer our public persona is to that of whom we really are it seems the less we ever have to worry about our character facing mass scrutiny (it’s great PR for yourself). Sounds easy in theory but, can be difficult in practice because of the great temptation of being accepted by many & having admirers.

Examples of Elasticity of Truth

Jim Bakker

Public Life: A beloved preacher close to God who embodied the highest of moral standards

Private Life: Not so moral or close to God. Had an affair with church secretary Jessica Hahn. Massive revelations of accounting fraud.

Elasticity of Truth: Snapped big time. Bakker lost his ministry, went to prison, was publicly humiliated but, God showed Bakker infinite mercy by delivering him from then wife Tammy Faye Bakker.

Elliot Spitzer

Public Persona: Family Man, Governor and champion of cleaning up corruption. The white knight in the fight against prostitution.

Private Persona: Hooker-Palooza

Elasticity of Truth: Lost the governorship, family humiliated… his own TV show?

Mark Goldman & Ryan McCormick

Public Persona: No time for BS Workaholics who’d who anything to help a client or member of the media.

Private Persona: Same as public – both sleep with blackberries on their pillows & cut vacations short for client needs.

Elasticity of Truth: The band has never stretched and they will ensure it never will.