Fandango of This, That & The Other posts a weekly question on an issue that requires discussion and debate. You can check this out here:Fandango’s Provocative Question
This week’s question is:
“How do you feel about people who always seem to exaggerate when relating a story? Do you equate embellishment with lying? As a blogger, when, if ever, is stretching the truth, other than when writing fiction, permissible?”
Exaggerating, embellishing or embroidering the truth is not a nice thing. But is it really very bad? This depends greatly on circumstances and intentions.
Let me give you an example. Suppose I slip and fall and a friend tells other people about it.
She could say,”Tanya slipped and fell in the cafeteria.”
“Tanya came rushing into the cafeteria. She wasn’t looking where she was going, so she slipped and fell.
As she fell, she tried to catch onto a table to steady herself. The table was loaded with a huge pile of cream puffs. These came crashing down on Tanya.
She was covered with cream as she sprawled on the floor. It really was quite a sight.”
What do you think makes for a more interesting story? The plain unvarnished truth or the embellished version?
Can embellishment be equated with lying? The answer to this question in my opinion depends on two factors: circumstances and intention.
Going back to the above example, my fall and my friend’s exaggerated account of it are not very grave circumstances. My friend’s embellished story is just to generate a little good natured humour at my expense. The intention is some harmless fun.
Let’s look at another example. Suppose a real estate agent who is selling a property embellishes its attributes.
Here the circumstances are serious as they involve a lot of money. Exaggerating or embellishing the features of the property would make the buyer give a better price. The intention in this case is to deceive someone into paying more money.
Such questions of ethics and morality are grey areas. They have to be decided individually. There is no “one size fits all”.
As bloggers we are duty bound to be truthful in whatever we write. We can, however, let our imaginations run wild when we write fiction.
Other than fiction, we must always write correct and accurate information to the best of our ability. One exception is embroidering the truth for the sake of humour. To make a story funnier than it actually is, exaggerating and embellishing facts is justified.
Note: This is the post that was lost after scheduling. I referred to it in my last post: