'...said the liar' was a popular tactic in playground lawyering from the afternoon of July 4, 1984 until around April 20, 1999. The tactic (as close fans of the TV show 'Psych' well know) consisted of immediately responding to a statement made by another person by appending to such statement the phrase, '...said the liar.' The implication of this appendation was that the person who had made the statement was in fact a liar, thereby tainting the statement itself as having been a lie. Interestingly enough, the tactic could be reflected back at itself by the maker of the statement (or another random person) repeating the phrase back to the original employer of the tactic.

Though apocryphal accounts record use of the phrase prior to July of 1984, it was on that date that one Robert Heeberman definitively established the tactic at a Junior Cub Scouts picnic, in response to an unknown taunt by Jason 'Snotty' Rogers. The statement which prompted this response, presumably an insulting observation, is lost to history; but the comeback inspired by it was undeniable in its terse and unforgiving wallop. Use of the tactic slowly spread throughout the Northern Ohio region throughout the Summer of 1984, and the start of school that Fall saw it blanket the Midwest, and then make headway into the Rocky Mountain states to the West, and into Pennsylvania and then New York to the East (though the phrase found little traction in the South, where the sort of "fast talkin'" which the phrase required was held in disdain by locals, who continued to prefer the traditional drawling exchange of "am not!!" "are too!!"

Ultimately, it was President Ronald Reagan's devastating use of the quip in his last presidential election debate against Walter Mondale which forever enshrined the phrase in the history of our national vocabulary. Reagan went on to beat Mondale by one of the largest electoral vote margins ever, with many Reagan voters going to the polls wearing pins featuring the words, "said the liar" over a stipple portrait of a shocked-looking Mondale. But this tactic would not avail election debaters in future contests. George H. W. Bush was mocked for his stilted, awkward delivery of the comeback against Bill Clinton's 1992 charge of McCarthyism, the only time he attempted the line. And it is generally agreed that Bob Dole positively embarrassed himself by attempting to employ the phrase forty-four times in his first 1996 debate with Bill Clinton (on three of those occasions, Dole compounded his error by accidentally inserting a third-person reference to his own name into the quip: "Bob Dole said the liar"; "said the liar Bob Dole"; and "said Bob Dole the liar").

The tactic is not without risks -- for example, it is prone to backfire if the statement to which it is appended is one so unquestionably true that only a fool would label it a lie: "The Sun is hot." "...said the liar!!"; or where the statement putatively contravened is in fact positive towards the contravenor: "Your mom is not a hooker." "...said the liar!!" A variation of the latter is to make a statement which is equally insulting whether claimed to be the truth or a lie: "Your mom is very bad at being a hooker." "...said the liar!!"

The decline in use of the phrase is attributed by entomologists to two factors, one being the overarching popularity of the phrase, 'asphinctersayswhat?' supplanting it, and the other being Bill Clinton's second term in office, during which being labelled a liar was suddenly deemed cool and hip and likely to garner blowjobs. It is not known why the opinion of insect experts is considered valuable in making such a determination. The last documented effective use of the phrase was an open-mic exchange between two roadies setting up for a Pearl Jam concert in San Luis Obispo, where the second responded thusly to the first's assurance that an amp feed had been correctly calibrated. The remark drew only muffled chuckles, but mostly stifled yawns, from those in the audience. Urban legend holds that the roadie who attempted the quip was none other than a now-adult Robert Heeberman, but this story is unconfirmed and on a scale of one to six was rated 'highly unlikely' in the Biennial Report of the American College of Cardiopathologists.



...said the liar.


Approximately 605 words for LieQuest 2013.

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