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Hidden Truths

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Close up of flashlight (Robert S. Donovan/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

This hour, stories about uncovering surprising truths hidden in plain sight. Errol Morris launches a sublime and somewhat ludicrous investigation into a famous war photograph, two blind men face off on the essence of reality, and a friend's true nature is revealed after his mysterious death.



Tim Kreider and Errol Morris

Truth and Cannonballs

Errol Morris is a legendary fact-hunting documentary sleuth. His film The Thin Blue Line has been credited with overturning a murder conviction, and freeing an accused man from a death sentence. For him, the search for truth shouldn't stop short of insanity. He tells Jad and Robert a story about ...

Comments [11]

Out of Sight

John Hull and Zoltan Torey are both blind, but they deal with the world in completely different ways -- one paints vivid pictures in his mind, while the other refuses to picture anything at all. While John finds truth in darkness, Zoltan sees an emotional void. And as they argue, ...

Comments [3]

Stashed Away Secrets

Tim Kreider shares a deeply personal story about a friend whose life was full of fuzzy facts. Tim's friend Skelly was a private guy, and his friends didn't push him on the details of his personal life -- even when they discovered the little lies he told to impress them. ...

Comments [11]

Comments [8]

Bugtussle from United States

I only caught the last story during broadcast in my car but it immediately hit home concerning a friend just like that who dropped out of contact suddenly, has been out of contact for months now, and I fear dead or hospitilized. He was my friend exactly because I didn't question his highly unlikely tales. I didn't bring up his obvious poverty or other credibility holes. I just enjoyed his company. When he brought up the mental demons he faced I'd talk honestly and openly to him about them but let him drop the conversation when he rolled back into his happier social acting. It was almost like being in a large social group impressing strangers was the only place he didn't experience anxiety. He often lamented about how he had no real friends and I think that was because of how constantly he tried to hide the sad reality of his life. But I know his actions toward me, what I saw of his daily life, and the amount of time he chose to spend alone in my company were those of a true friend. As another friend of mine put it, his friendship with me had nothing to do with his relationship with others.

Interestingly enough, since another commentor brought up the "angry lied-to women" response to these lonely men who maintain elaborate glittery public personas, I am a single straight woman and he was a single straight man and there were a couple weeks in the beginning of the friendship where a dating factor almost occurred. But I never became overly concerned about his highly unlikely stories, because spending time with him was never a matter of being impressed by his claims. It wasn't who he might know or what he might have done, instead it was his sense of humor, nice demeanor, and our mutual interests that made me want to spend time with him. Continuing to pursue time with him was simply the desire to share moments with him. The constant uncertainty about what to believe from him is why I chose to only ever think of him as a friend instead of allowing romantic thoughts, even when in drunken moments he'd remark on my beauty or kiss me, or in sober moments act like a gentleman, but there wasn't ever anger toward his stories. Impressive stories of fame or wealth are not what a healthy romance should be built off of, whether the stories are true or not. And I think the same goes for true friendship. He never once betrayed my friendship despite his constant desire to impress people with appearances.

I miss my friend. I wish I still lived close by and could more easily check on why he disappeared. I really hope he is still alive.

Jul. 14 2015 06:00 PM
SNS from Brooklyn

The third segment of this program so aptly describes a specific kind of character I've encountered at various bars in NYC - middle-aged men who are charismatic, charming, and who claim to be the greatest artist, writer, whatever - and who frequently skirt the truth (often times, wildly so). As the guest on the show observes: "I've spent various time hanging out at bars and you do meet pathological liars...they are always able to one-up your story and then they start to seem creepy and repellent." Also worth noting: the treatment of women in male-dominated spaces like bars. After describing instance after instance in which the main character in this story is lying, the guest proceeds to discount (and blame) various girlfriends the guy had, because they "fell" for his lies (though, as the host of the program points out to the narrator, "didn't you fall for them, too"?). When I hear men discount women in this manner (in spite of plain facts/evidence to the contrary), I am reminded of this quote from Maggie Nelson, because it reifies what I already know to be true: "Even if women are consulting the same satellites, or reading from the same script: their reports are suspect; the jig is up. In other words, the articulation of the reality of my sex is impossible in discourse, and for a structural, eidetic reason. My sex is removed, at least as the property of a subject, from the predicative mechanism that assures discursive coherence."

Jul. 13 2015 09:38 PM
Eleen Baumann from Fort Collins

Greatly enjoyed the program on "Hidden Truths"- re: dead spoken languages such as Latin. A neuro-scientist you spoke with said someone came up the idea of using new technologies to test whether there were latent voice vibrations on ancient artifacts. My first run in with the idea of shards of pottery or glass being able to transmit the spoken language used at the time the item was made came from Gregory Benford's short story - Time Shards published in 1979. During my Google search to find the author I came across references to false reports that this process had been tested and actually worked. I read sci-fi for 30 years. I still think the "old stuff" in the 1960s and 1070s is the best.

Jul. 13 2015 02:47 PM
bud marz from location location

i have a hard time believing only four people have enough energy to comment on such an entertaining show... are you sure the internet is turned on??? p.s. put pictures next to each other

Jul. 10 2015 11:38 PM

Great Piece. I love the Trajectory/Construction; from the Truth Fascist to the Truth Duluezian (Post-Structuralist, Non-Fascist, whatever you wanna call it. Emergent Human, I dunno). Errol Morris is the Funniest Truth Fascist I've ever heard, he (almost) totally unravels his Totalitarian Obsession in his pursuit of it.

Aug. 07 2013 03:52 PM
Chris James from Los Angeles, CA

I was fortunate enough to be caught in traffic on the 110 Sunday afternoon to hear this episode in its entirety. I think the richest part of the episode, however, is listening to Tim at the end describe his relationship and observations about Skelly (sp?). It was among the most touching, insightful, and eloquent narratives I've ever heard on radio.

Aug. 06 2013 09:29 PM
Stephen from ny

Regarding out of site, check out:
Juhani Pallasmaa: The Eyes of the Skin

Aug. 04 2013 08:54 PM
Lou Cartier

Thanks for much for the three stories on "hidden truths" this morning. Simply extraordinary, in terms of compelling examples, superior insight, superior production. I was in the car, between things, and did not hear any of the three all the way through ... but I caught enough. Thanks for at least two "driveway moments," first with the rocks and cannon balls on that road in Eurasia and then sharing the glee of two "friends" releasing bamboo trees from their snowy burden. Extraordinary.

Aug. 03 2013 03:10 PM

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