96 days

All right, what gives?

In the past two days, we have…

  • Misha Defonseca, 71, Belgian, whose memoir (Surviving with Wolves) about her fleeing from Nazis and being sheltered by wolves was, oddly, fiction. Not real. “It is not actually reality,” she pleads, “but my reality, my way of surviving… I beg you to put yourself in my place, of a 4-year-old girl who was very lost.” Her real name appears to be Monique De Wael.
  • Margaret B. Jones, 33, whose “critically acclaimed memoir” Love and Consequences is not in fact about her life, given that she grew up in a well-to-do nuclear family in an affluent suburb, not in foster homes in gang-riven South-Central LA. “I’m not saying like I did it right,” Ms. Jones. “I did not do it right.” Her real name is in fact Margaret Seltzer.
  • Robert Irvine, 42, celebrity chef of Dinner Impossible on Food Network (‘ware, Marc!), is not in fact a British knight, owner of a castle in Scotland, or chummy with Prince Charles. He felt pressure “to keep up with the Joneses,” he said. Whether he meant Margaret B. Jones is unclear, and Robert Irvine is apparently his real name.

This is preposterous. What is with people, that they seek fame and fortune by creating stupendously bogus lives? Certainly, I wish I lived a more exciting and monetarily rewarding life, but on the whole my life is pretty glamorous as it is. And anything I concocted would be shot down in less time than it took for Margaret Seltzer’s sister to see her photo in the New York Times and call the publisher to blow the whistle.

As Georg C. Lichtenberg says, “Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer. (D.25)” So here’s your assignment, Lichtenbergians: hie thee over to the Waste Book and create the news story (in the Times, of course) about your newfound fame collapsing because of your outrageous lies have been detected. Make sure to include your excuses/apologies.

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