Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

THE ART OF DECEPTION

It is not new. This quote tells the Bible story of how Jacob conned his father.

“Jacob is attempting to impersonate his older twin brother, Esau, by wearing his clothes and putting hairy goat skins on his arms and neck (Genesis 27:6–17). The target of this fraud is his own father, an elderly and blind Isaac (Genesis 27:1–5). While his father might be ailing, he is not entirely senseless: Isaac is clearly aware that something is not right with this version of “Esau” standing before him. It’s too soon for Esau to have returned (Genesis 27:18–20), and the voice is wrong. It’s plainly Jacob’s voice. So, Isaac asks this person to approach so he can feel his skin. Perhaps Isaac thought he would find Jacob’s smooth hands attached to the voice.

Instead, Isaac finds hairy hands, like those of Esau, thanks to Jacob’s mother cleverly applying the goat’s skin. Old, blind and fearing he was near death, Isaac was probably confused. Maybe this really was his firstborn Esau to whom he intended to give the blessing.”

I just took a book from the mobile library and the front cover says WILBUR SMITH in large, dark brown type. At he bottom, in much smaller. light grey type, it says “with GILES KRISTIAN”. I was conned into thinking it was the sort of Wilbur Smith book I enjoyed before. It was nowhere near as good. I have also seen other authors treated in the same way, as publishers try to squeeze the maximum revenue out of big names. I assume that the big name gives the outline of the plot and the collaborator (paid rather less) does the work.

Deception is everywhere. One example I have recently experienced is the dental practice labelled DENTAL ART CLINIC. So far I have had no trouble with them, but how flexible the word ART and it’s derivatives can be! We can have ART as in painting or sculpture or ART as in literature or ART as in “artful! (clever) or ART as in “artificial” (not real).

I find “Dental Art Clinic” amusing and imaginative rather than seriously deceptive, but there are other cases where an emotive word can be  more damaging.

Deception is not always bad. For instance, we applaud magicians for their skill in deceiving us and we play practical jokes on one another for amusement. Perhaps motive and consequence matter most. Esau was conned out of his inheritance, which mattered a lot to him.  I borrowed a poor book when I might have borrowed a better – not really a big deal

 

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