What would it be like to live in a world where everyone told you exactly what they thought? The Invention of Lying, a sleepy little 2009 comedy by Ricky Gervais (He co-wrote, directed and starred in it) has this interesting premise and an uneven delivery. I will focus more on the premise: that a world could exist where people never speak anything but the truth; and almost compulsively tell you what they actually think, and where they never lie for any reason. This would, I believe, create a world that is profoundly different than ours. The film highlights differences in this strange world, but does not follow all of them to what I believe to be their logical conclusions. In part to make the story easier to tell, it is set in a world that looks very much like ours – indeed that shares much of our history and many of our commercial products (A sample commercial runs something like this: “Buy Coke. It is just colored sugar water and it is bad for your health, but it tastes good and has little bubbles. It hasn’t been improved, but we did put Polar Bears on the can so that your kids would be drawn to it.” The counterpoint ad on a bus: “Pepsi: when there is no Coke.”)
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