Are White Lies Really Harmless?

When Dracula tells Mavis that she can go visit the human village nearby (that he created), lies to his “family” about Johnny being a monster, or when he tells her that Johnnystein “left” it was much more harmful than harmless. What constitutes a white lie? Jennifer Argo and Baba Shiv wrote an article for the Journal of Consumer Research explaining the true differences between standard lies and “white” ones. The article used the terms “deceiver” (liar)  and “receiver” (being lied to) respectfully.  They concluded that there most definitely exists a range of “acceptable deception without negative consequences”, but agreed that there also exists a “line that shouldn’t be crossed”.  Dracula absolutely crossed this line.

A lie is defined as “intentionally try[ing] to mislead someone, which often includes self benefiting deception ” (Argo, Shiv) whereas a white lie is told to benefit others. Dracula believed truthfully that his lies would benefit Mavis. He thought he was keeping her safe, however his lies were more for his peace of mind and benefit than for Mavis. So Dracula told “grey lies” not quite white nor other. The consequences of these lies were in the end, much more difficult than telling his daughter the truth.

Not only did Dracula break his daughter’s trust, he lied to his “family”, created problems for his business, but most of all he created a nearly un-reversible outcome. It was extremely difficult for Dracula to reverse the outcome and almost left Mavis fatherless, and without Johnny.

Dracula became his own worst enemy by lying. Dracula created the village to keep Mavis away from the humans that killed his wife. When Mavis visited the fake village a fire was accidentally started, which Johnny saw and followed the zombies (dressed as humans) back to the hotel.

Dracula’s lies created the situation he was trying to avoid in the first place. Now to keep his patrons from knowing there was a human (who wouldn’t leave) in his hotel. Dracula dressed Johnny up as a “Stein” family member and in the process he lied to his friend Frank telling him that Johnny was his “cousin”. Mavis began to fall for Johnnystein and Dracula told Johnny that he needed to leave the hotel, but only after Mavis’ birthday party so it wouldn’t be ruined for her.

Created using GIPHY “Are these monsters gonna kill me?” (Johnny) “Not as long as they think you’re a monster too” (Dracula) “That’s racist”

Johnny is discovered to be a human at the party and Mavis makes it clear she doesn’t care if Johnny is human. Dracula threatens Johnny and he runs off, telling Mavis he doesn’t want to be with her.

Dracula tells Mavis Johnny left because he wasn’t interested in being with a monster. However, he notices just how hurt Mavis is and Mavis believes Johnny is her true love (which only happens once for vampires). This forces Dracula and his “haunting buddies” to go out into the sun to find Johnny and Dracula almost burns up in the process. He finds that humans have changed, however as a few humans help him find Johnny.

Dracula crossed the line of “white lies”, because the lies he was telling were more of benefit to himself than others. The lies also had severe consequences. Dracula realized the “butterfly effect” he created, and how much easier it would’ve been to tell Mavis the truth and not keep things from her.

Credit to FANDANGO Tracking Johnny

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CREDITS:
TM & © Sony (2012)
Cast: David Koechner, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, Cee-Lo, Kevin James
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Producers: Michelle Murdocca, Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler, Lydia Bottegoni
Screenwriters: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel