Telling a Tale
How far can you stretch the truth before it breaks? How far can you carry a lie before it gets exposed? Select a group of volunteers, and ask them each to come up with a lie or an unbelievable truth about themselves. Each person must tell the rest of the class one true story about himself/ herself, and one lie. As each of the stories are told, the rest of the group must ask questions or carry out research to test the claims made, and to decide whether or not the story is true. Discuss the following questions:
- What makes a good lie and a good liar?
- Which tools can be used to make the lie seem more convincing or to make the truth less believable?
- How do you expose a lie?
- Why are some lies so seductive that we seem to want to believe them without question?
- Are lies which are based on truths easier or more difficult to expose than lies made up out of nowhere?
A Friend of a Friend of Mine: The Urban Myth
Consider the phenomenon of the Urban Myth, and the power of 'a friend of a friend' to make a story seem true. Share the Myths you have heard, and carry out research into their origin and history. What is the point and purpose of an Urban Myth: does it simply exist to entertain, or does it also contain elements of truth, and thus teach valuable lessons? Discuss whether the Urban Myth could be, or has been, deployed to spread deliberate disinformation for personal or political gain? Create your own Urban Myths. Test that they are believable but harmless before you send them into the world. How do you make them travel - why would you and how do you test their success?