Op-Ed: Chicken Little lied for attention. Here’s why I do it too.

When my girlfriend interned at Walt Disney last summer, her manager shared with her a Google Drive folder with first-draft screenplays of every movie the studio has produced. She was supposed to do some data science work to understand what types of screenplays got better ratings, but she finished that assignment in two days and spent the rest of the summer re-reading the original manuscript of the 2005 Chicken Little movie–which was much less popular than the 1943 animated short film of the same name.


At some point, she noticed a non-dialogue paragraph explaining that Chicken Little “smirked” as he announced the sky was falling. She’s quite the detective (as I’ve learned on multiple occasions), so she went digging through the script to understand what that small detail meant. Turns out, Chicken Little didn’t actually think the sky was falling—he’s not that stupid! What he really wanted was for everyone to be staring at his face, listening to his voice, and thinking about him.


Okay, so technically that’s not what happened. My girlfriend didn’t find concrete evidence of Chicken Little being a sociopath, and she didn’t actually get a Drive folder with every original screenplay draft. She technically didn’t work at Disney, either.


To be fully transparent, I don’t have a girlfriend. I just did what I do best: make shit up and hope that someone’s shocked.


Lying for attention is one of my favorite pastimes. It started one day during recess in second grade, when I emerged from the wooded area behind the playground and said that I saw a black bear. Everyone freaked out and the principal made us go inside. I was a bit worried that I’d get in trouble like Chicken Little did, but that’s not what happened at all. My teacher gave me a lollipop for spreading the news, and she let me go home early because I “still looked pretty shaken up.”


Regardless of Chicken Little’s true motivations, the consequences he faced were completely unrealistic. If you’re naturally skilled at lying like I am, you probably won’t be gaslit by anyone. You’re more likely to be celebrated, re-tweeted, and given a pat on the back.


If you won’t take my word for it, just ask a “satire writer.” Their entire job is to lie for attention.



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