Can You "Spot The Lie" in TV Ads? (1992)

Written for Discipleship Journal 

On the TV screen, average Joes pop open their beers and ogle slinky women who welcome their stares.

It's impossible to avoid seeing variations on this theme in TV commericals during professional sports events. Which means more Americans need to play a living room game called "Spot the Lie."

Cultural analyst Os Guinness created the game when his son, Christopher, was five years old. The point is to recognize the temptation to uncritically soak up TV commercialism.

The rules are simple: Parents say "spot the lie" when an ad comes on TV. The kid has to pay attention and then find an implicit lie, non sequitur or totally irrational statement in the ad.

Perhaps it's an ad that suggests that men don't love their children unless they buy a particular car tire. Or that women lack self esteem if they don't buy an expensive shampoo. Or that teens can be revolutionaries merely by watching music videos. Or that average Joes are sexy if their drink the right beer.

If the child "spots the lie," the parent hands over a quarter. Parents judge whether the child has succeeded, since its mom or dad who has to pay up. Note: Parents have to "spot the lie," as well as their children. Everyone has to think critically.

The Moscow Files: Images from the revolution of 1991 (1991-93)

This is a collection of Terry Mattingly's "On Religion'' columns preceeding, during and after the Moscow Project in 1991. They were written for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C. Mattingly teaches communications at Milligan College in East Tennessee. Many of these columns were written while Mattingly was teaching as Communicator on Culture at Denver Seminary.