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Who Is WW?: Truth (or, “What does ‘crap’ mean?”)
November 11, 2015 By Brett Jett
“That man is more full of dung than Augeas’s stables.” –Princess Diana, UN ambassador, referring to Lex Luthor.
Most people think Truth is one of the major tenets of Wonder Woman, due to Dr. William Moulton Marston’s popular association with the lie detector (which came from his showman efforts to attract attention); hence her lasso being misnamed the “Lasso of Truth”. Most people also say that Dr. WMM was the inventor of the lie detector, and that he espoused truth as a major tenet that guided him in all his work.
Well, that…is a fine example of crap.
The TRUTH is…first of all, Dr. WMM did not invent the lie detector. He was one of the early developers of the concepts & principles of its process. The lie detector was a multi-person development, each contributing to an aspect, in phases. And when the graphs of different bio-response apparatuses are recorded on the same record sheet, its called the “polygraph” method. Dr. WMM contributed the blood pressure angle & the emotional dynamics behind it; so even though his system proved to be faulty for detecting lies, its still suited for detecting emotional fluctuations. All of which were even showcased in the movie EQUILIBRIUM. A lot of lie detection methods today (such as facial action coding systems) can find their distant roots in the emotions research Dr. WMM did. There were also other types of lies that he was just beginning to study, such as Negative-type reaction, which is where his lie detection research left off; altho the Magic Lasso was meant to defeat all types of lies by nullifying all assertions of dominance, as during deception one’s sense of dominance contends with fear. But just because he worked on the lie detector, doesn’t mean he mainly espoused truth in everything. Like any human, he wasn’t always honest, neither was WW. He was more a Venusian than a truth-seeker. He wasn’t especially looking for the truth any more than any other psychologist would be. He simply did what he was interested in, and in this case it was emotions & integrating mind-body, as people’s minds & bodies react certain ways when feeling joy, deception, etc. And this held his real guiding motivation: seeking well being for people, guiding them toward love, investigating the psycho-physiology of love emotions. And fittingly, the Magic Lasso was originally meant to be a tool for love submission, not solely a truth device. And yet writers continue to mistakenly assume that ‘Truth’ is WW’s central theme…even in the ridiculously glaring face of her post-Silver Age chest emblem (the “=W=”) resembling a lie detector graph that registered a lie!
This false belief in Truth being her central theme was even written into the retconned 70’s show incarnation, saying that Amazons were raise to respect truth. This despite Diana using deception on more than one occasion.
But even though Truth is not WW’s main theme, it is nonetheless one of many other sub-themes and a vital tenet in any fight against evil. Deception is an abnormal emotion that causes pain & injustice in the world as well as neurological anarchism in the liar. So when the Lasso produces truth by burning through ‘crap’, it then also produces justice & freedom…and feels good. The Nazis say they have ways of making you talk…well, so does WW, altho not quite so violently. However, some people regard the Magic Lasso as campy, a weak, lame weapon…but–aside from the Lasso’s captivation aspect–when you consider how deception is an often-used tactic by the badguys, you’ll see how significant Truth really is! Without the power to deceive it would be impossible to commit most crimes. But this goes beyond just criminals and is universal of Evil itself. Because when Evil & Good face off in the open where everything is laid out bare & truthfully, Good is destined to win every time as the natural order of things. Hence, in order to survive & gain power & have a fighting chance, Evil has to use deception & be invisible like creatures of the darkness who can’t stand the light! The only other way Evil is able to prevail is when good people do nothing. As its said…the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled off was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.
That’s why Duke Deception is Ares’/Mars’ top cohort. Just think of the variety of badguys in the real world who get away with evil & remain in business…every dubious executive, your boss, thieves, corrupt cops, etc. But if the truth ever came to light, their reign would be over…at least in an uncorrupted establishment. In my screenplay, William Mars rose to the position of Secretary General partly thru deception & partly thru too many hostile people not caring. In crime stories, there’s not much of a story if the villain & his crime are found right away. Thus a large part of most good vs evil stories involves some sort of hunt for the truth. The Antichrist will rise to power through deception, by manipulating people via the workplace (mark my words)…just think of how much of our lives revolve around the workplace…its an institution that can easily influence people to go along with evil ways…no wonder the whole world will eventually fall to the dark side! So to understand the redeeming power of truth, one must understand the destructive effects of deception & manipulation. Just think of your own life’s experiences with schemers & rumor mills & girls trying to wreck your social lives… “Hand That Rocks The Cradle”, anyone? And to have a superhero, a savior indeed, who has the ability to bring the truth to light is such a relief!
Armed with a Magic Lasso, acute sensory powers, vast knowledge of varied psychology & human nature/emotions, a mind that can process several things at a time at high speed, wonderful intuition, & a very intelligent brain of vast potential…WW was born & primed to be a “hunter”, like her godmother & namesake ‘Diana’…adept at tracking down the truth & the root of evil–there’s no where for it to hide! She can give Batman a run for his money. That’s why deception isn’t as much of a dilemma for WW as it is for Superman, where the sneaky Lex Luthor gives him a hard time despite his great powers. Because for Lex Luthor, ‘crap’ is his superpower. But if WW were to switch places with Clark on the “Smallville” show, Lex Luthor wouldn’t stand a chance. She’s foiled Duke Deception himself! There’d be no long drawn out episodes about her trying to unravel Lex’s schemes…she’d have disrupted & busted him right away, every time, the end! And I would’ve laughed through all 5 minutes of it! Lex would be so frustrated, because he’s not used to dealing with WW as he is Clark. Just as Batman’s villains are used to playing on his human limitations, and would be frustrated dealing with Superman.
So for WW, its more of a matter of, ‘Okay, now that we have the truth, what do we do with it? How do we deal?’
While Truth is only a means to an end in WW’s mythos, it has other forms that are significant to the mythos. Her goal is peace & love, which she obtains through seeking justice, which is sought through Truth. This can be compared to Neo of THE MATRIX where he (like WW) helps people realize with real eyes the real lies, and ultimately the Truth, which sets them free.
Guile adapted to Love.
However, none of this is to say that WW never uses deception at all, anymore than we do. Rather, her relationship with deception coincides with WMM’s theoretical assertions about how women deal with deception.
Its been a popular notion among WW fans that Dr. WMM had found–through lie detector tests–women to be more honest than men. First off, when Dr. WMM conducted those tests in question, his findings simply represented the demographic of the time–Americans from the Depression Era–not men & women across the board. Demographics certainly play a huge factor in such psychological tests. In any event, I have never found Dr. WMM, anywhere, making the blanket statement that women are more honest than men. This seems more like the public’s sensationalistic assumption.
Now…the truth behind this false notion: Dr. WMM’s test results suggested that men & women lie mostly in different situations, therefore averaging out to men & women lying equally as much; and that the women of his era whom he tested had problems holding onto lies and so consequently were more likely to blurt out what they knew to be the honest truth.
In regards to WW’s personality, she is someone who’s blunt & straightforward. With the warrior way she was raised, she was not used to holding onto lies for long, thus her initial rustiness in keeping her secret identity. This quirk was based on Dr. WMM’s aforementioned tests of women [of his demographic].
As for the apparent contradicting use of guile/subterfuge by the Amazons, the explanation is simple: Using guile/subterfuge in battle is a whole other issue from using guile/subterfuge in everyday living. Additionally, Amazons live by their core doctrine…adapting anything Marsian (ie. guile/subterfuge) to love & humanity. This is a reflection of WMM’s findings of the motivational differences between men & women’s lies. Dr. Marston said that the lies of men (of his era) were motivated mainly by appetite. While women’s (of his era) lies were motivated by the same thing that drove Princess Diana to deceive & defy her mother in entering the Tournament…love emotion. In Diana’s case, its a love that she discovered after it was brought out by the presence of this helpless blond man and the personal need for expanding her horizons with humanity.
Personal profile of Diana.
So how would WW feel about reality shows where people lie, steal, cheat & stab each other in the back? Based on the basis of WW’s personality as established by WMM, my assessment is: She’d hate it…as well as manipulations of the truth, such as in the TV show “Moment Of Truth”. WW would never lend her Lasso to the producer of such shows! Because exploitation of truth is manipulation, and a distortion of truth that produces harm. Whereas WW extracts truth in order to produce justice & harmony. Breaking up families by revealing private thoughts does not produce justice & harmony.
For more explanation on this chapter, or any other layer or aspect of WW, obtain a PDF copy of the “Who Is WW?” manuscript.
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