Our depressing economic climate apparently has a silver lining. According to a story in the Style section of Sunday’s New York Times, the economic meltdown gives us a great excuse to do things – or not to do things – without being authentic about it.

Why be straight with the nanny who isn’t working out when you can use the economy as an excuse to dump her and hire a more palatable replacement a few days later? “It’s the silver lining in the recession,” raves the duplicitous woman who preferred lying to the nanny over delivering honest feedback on her substandard job performance. “In fact, it came in quite handy.”

The economy also came to the rescue of a runner who didn’t want to be straight with her coach, who was prodding her to run an ultra-marathon in Canada’s Arctic Circle. She founded it more convenient to dissemble, (“I just can’t afford it”) than to be honest about the real reason, (“It’s too cold and uncomfortable for me to race in that climate.”)

The article uses all the euphemisms to soften the hard edges of deceit: fibbing, white lies, masking the truth. But it’s all about an inability to be direct and authentic in the moment of a difficult conversation.

What other global crises give us a “silver lining” that lets us off the hook for being authentic? Global warming? Nuclear proliferation? A pandemic disease or a terrorist threat? The assumptions of the people quoted in this article -- that crisis gives us a pass on having authentic conversations with each other -- is deeply troubling.