December 29, 2008

"Why did I do that and write the story with the girl and the apple, because I wanted to bring happiness to people..."

"... to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world."

A world-class bullshit artist, keeping up the bullshit.

Another memoir hoax, and once again, Oprah fell for it:
["Angel at the Fence"] was the tale of Herman Rosenblat, who said he first met his wife while he was a child imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp and she, disguised as a Christian farm girl, tossed apples over the camp’s fence to him....

Ms. Winfrey, who hosted Mr. Rosenblat and his wife, Roma Radzicki Rosenblat, on her show twice, called their romance “the single greatest love story” she had encountered in her 22 years on the show....
Here's the New Republic article by Gabriel Sherman that exposed the hoax:
"It's a lie. It's one big lie," says Henry Golde, 79, who was liberated with Herman from Theresienstadt, in 1945. Rosenblat "was normal," Golde adds. "I don't know what happened. Something went haywire, to tell a lie like that on national TV. It's terrible." Golde, a former New York City cab driver who now lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, says he was angry when he first read about Herman's story in the 1990s. "What the hell? I said. What the hell is he writing about?" Golde remembers....

"A love story set in a concentration camp as a way of teaching about the Holocaust actually inverts the reality of the Holocaust, denies it in its own way," [Michigan State University professor Kenneth] Waltzer wrote me in an e-mail. "The reality of being in a concentration camp was that ... [n]ormal impulses like those of young lovers were disrupted, collapsed. The idea that two people in the circumstances described--a prisoner in a camp, in a group of brothers, the primary source of loyalty, and a girl in hiding under false identity with a family group, her primary source of loyalty--would put all up for grabs by meeting daily in the open at a guarded electrified fence means that the writer didn't really understand, and the publishers and moviemaker didn't really understand either. And this is why all this is so important. There is denial of the Holocaust, this isn't that, but there is also denial of the substance or reality of the Holocaust--and this is definitely that."
IN THE COMMENTS: A little pity, from Bissage:
Mr. Rosenblat is a world-class bullshit artist?

Gee . . . I don’t know . . . that sounds kind of harsh. Anyway, he’s certainly not the only guilty party in this false-memoir scheme.

Go to the link and look at the cover of the bound proof. Was the fence really a single strand of barbed wire? Is a white dove the same thing as an angel? Was there ever a white dove at all? Is that an illustration of an apple tree that actually existed near Buchenwald?

These are stupid questions, of course.

But so too is it stupid to ask whether Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and has a reindeer with a red nose that lights his way. Stupid for anyone except children, that is.

There are those who make it their purpose in life to jealously guard the memory of the Holocaust and that’s a good thing, for the most part.

Still, a little poetic license can be a good thing too.

Does it really change the horribleness of the Holocaust to say a little girl tossed an apple over a fence?

In early drafts of "Angel at the Fence" the little girl tossed over a hot pastrami on rye and an egg cream.

The editors thought that was going too far and they were right!
And William:
Let us come together in the sunlit, upland pastures and gather cow patties. Let us pile these patties one upon another and build such a towering edifice that God in his heaven looks down upon us and says "What a pile of bullshit"...The idea that the Holocaust is the one atrocity of the past century that should be immune from evasions and myths and denial is itself a cow patty that can be used as the keystone for the arch of a lofty cathedral of bullshit.....Some addled old man packed his wounds with a poultice of bullshit. I can relate to that. We all try to invent a usable past. He tried and failed, but the attempt was not evil.
AND: Glenn Reynolds links like this:
HEH: “Another memoir hoax, and once again, Oprah fell for it.” She’s a sucker for a good life story, true or not.
The Obama angle. You know, Oprah's gullibility is no joke. She's hugely influential. Skeptoid put her first on his list of "Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience."
To her estimated total audience of 100 million, many of whom uncritically accept every word the world's wealthiest woman says, she promotes the paranormal, psychic powers, new age spiritualism, conspiracy theories, quack celebrity diets, past life regression, angels, ghosts, alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy, anti-vaccination, detoxification, vitamin megadosing, and virtually everything that will distract a human being from making useful progress and informed decisions in life. Although much of what she promotes is not directly harmful, she offers no distinction between the two, leaving the gullible public increasingly and incrementally injured with virtually every episode.

When you have a giant audience, you have a giant responsibility. Maybe you don't want such a responsibility, in which case, fine, keep your mouth shut; or limit your performance to jokes or acting or whatever it is you do.
At some point, the real hoax is Oprah herself.

67 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Who knows what value Truth has anymore? If it feels good, think it is the new mantra. To a trial lawyer the use of false stories is so dangerous that we default to the truth in most cases. The current generation coming to conscious thought in our shared culture since about 1989 [that is those 25 and under] have been fed a level of reality that makes no distinction between Fiction stories and True stories. I credit the success of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood fictional work as the beginning of the new blurring of what had been a normal distinction made by every reporter type person. What is rewarded is repeated.

JohnAnnArbor said...

To a trial lawyer the use of false stories is so dangerous that we default to the truth in most cases.

Gonna be a while before I stop chuckling at THAT statement.

Windbag said...

People have a choice...spend a lifetime collecting memories and developing character and substance or spend two minutes developing a marketing campaign to fool an equally vapid market into thinking you did.

kynefski said...

I was happy to learn that the publisher cancelled. Integrity, no matter how late arrived at, is always welcome.

And I admire the people who kept pushing back against this. That could not have been fun.

john said...

...Misha Defonseca confessed that her memoir ... about her childhood spent running from the Nazis and living with wolves, was not true.

I'm shocked, shocked. What's the next betrayal?

bill said...

Well, how's the story? Is it well written? If the book showed up in the fiction section without the hoax background would it be interesting?

Pogo said...

It was untrue because the holocaust was a black hole of evil, permitting no light to pass. A girl throwing an apple is as unlikely as Anne Frank surviving.

This total bleakness was also seen in Russia in the 1930s and China in the 1960s and Cambodia in the 1970s. In these murderous eras, hope was crushed, almost entirely.

People want to believe in these stories, I think, because they make it possible to turn from the horror of the truth, where it is simply too painful to look. Revel called it "the need to believe things that are implausible".

Mr. Rosenblat is a minor literary Madoff, who has traded his soul for a little fame. Like Madoff, he found shame instead. And instead of bringing hope and good feelings to a lot of people, he made people die a little, by crushing hope in a story about 6 million crushed hopes.

john said...

On the other hand, after you live with wolves for a while, something more romantic may follow.

LutherM said...

If we are to compare and contrast the value of truth and the cost of lies in various situations, let's look at:

(1) Bugsy Siegel - a gangster, a murderer, the subject of an interesting movie, shot in girlfriend's house -
"it's only business".

(2) Herman Rosenblat - lying about life in a work camp. "to tell a lie like that on national TV. It's terrible." - yes, I suppose - oh, the embarrassment for Overweight Oprah, for "denial of the substance or reality of the Holocaust".

(3) Bernard L. Madoff - $50,000,000,000 fraud, financial ruin for some, at least one suicide, and Bernie will lose his 3 yachts, etc.

(4) The N.Y. TIMES article on 12/27/2008 was "Israeli Gaza Strike Kills More Than 200" .The Israeli attackers also injured 600 people. No place in the article were the attackers described as "terrorists", or "murderers".
Mass murder justified by Israelis - with more to come.

Damon Runyon said it best:
"You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, and them's pretty good odds"

AllenS said...

Some people voted for Obama because they wanted to believe. In what, I'm not sure. I guess, maybe whatever Oprah says to believe in. We look to Hollywood for our inspiration. Too bad, that.

Bissage said...

Mr. Rosenblat is a world-class bullshit artist?

Gee . . . I don’t know . . . that sounds kind of harsh. Anyway, he’s certainly not the only guilty party in this false-memoir scheme.

Go to the link and look at the cover of the bound proof. Was the fence really a single strand of barbed wire? Is a white dove the same thing as an angel? Was there ever a white dove at all? Is that an illustration of an apple tree that actually existed near Buchenwald?

These are stupid questions, of course.

But so too is it stupid to ask whether Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and has a reindeer with a red nose that lights his way. Stupid for anyone except children, that is.

There are those who make it their purpose in life to jealously guard the memory of the Holocaust and that’s a good thing, for the most part.

Still, a little poetic license can be a good thing too.

Does it really change the horribleness of the Holocaust to say a little girl tossed an apple over a fence?

In early drafts of "Angel at the Fence" the little girl tossed over a hot pastrami on rye and an egg cream.

The editors thought that was going too far and they were right!

Darcy said...

Shame on him.

I recommend the book Maus.

SteveR said...

People fall for Oprah, Oprah falls for people. The richest woman in America is selling stories.

Big Mike said...

World class? Not even national class. Oprah is just gullible, that's all.

Ron said...

The world class bullshit artists don't get caught!

ricpic said...

When I was in basic training I had a bunkbed mate who would sneak off base every night (this was after a day that began at 4:30 AM and ended at 6 - 7 PM, which left me flat out exhausted) and hightail it into town to find "love." Every night!
Love scales all barriers!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Mass murder justified by Israelis - with more to come.

What's worse than a bullshit artist? A drive-by threadjacking bullshit artist.

Hoosier Daddy said...

A world-class bullshit artist, keeping up the bullshit.

Another memoir hoax, and once again, Oprah fell for it:


Well she fell for Obama's Hope & Change.

I still don't know why anyone watches her and will never understand the near orgasmic adulation she gets from the crowd when she walks on stage.

kynefski said...

Oh, come on. Oprah didn't fall for anything. She miscalculated.

Lem said...

A man whose memoir about his experience during the Holocaust was to have been published in February has admitted that his story was embellished, and on Saturday evening his publisher canceled the release of the book.

It is not at all implausible for me to conjure up a scenario were people refuse to believe that Obama might not have met the constitutional requirements to be president of the United States on account that he was not born in these United States of America.

It would be so bold!

And yet It is the Obama presidency that lay's claim to the boldest election yet - is it not?

Most times (about 99.99% of the time) people will believe what they are told.

William said...

Let us come together in the sunlit, upland pastures and gather cow patties. Let us pile these patties one upon another and build such a towering edifice that God in his heaven looks down upon us and says "What a pile of bullshit"...The idea that the Holocaust is the one atrocity of the past century that should be immune from evasions and myths and denial is itself a cow patty that can be used as the keystone for the arch of a lofty cathedral of bullshit.....Some addled old man packed his wounds with a poultice of bullshit. I can relate to that. We all try to invent a usable past. He tried and failed, but the attempt was not evil.

Darcy said...

William: You made me sort of rethink this, thanks.

Bissage said...

Darcy, if you're ever in the mood, you might consider re-reading “Maus.” You’ll find a heaping helping of good old-fashioned hodeydoe in there.

The Bible, too.

NTTAWWT.

Man does not live by bread alone.

Just saying.

PatCA said...

Oprah Doprah.

She is not a great intellect; she is a celebrity.

Pogo said...

"He tried and failed, but the attempt was not evil."

Lying about your past is an evil, the severity depending on the degree to which it affects others.

Try this on your spouse: I lied, I have been married 4 times before and have three kids I never see, but at least I have a usable past.

Tell a lie, er... 'invent a usable past', about your military background?
No big deal, unless you make that a central point of your 'story' and you rise to CEO or governor and it then becomes a betrayal to others, and dishonors real soldiers.

If lies used as a poultice are sufficient to justify them, why tell the truth ever? There's always a good reason to lie, at least so thinks the liar.

Of what use are honor and integrity in this modern era, where a good lie well-told can make you rich?

Does truth matter at all?

Number Six said...

''I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.'' Anne Frank

''The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.''
Friedrich Nietzsche

ballyfager said...

It seems like the woman (Oprah) has been around since about the time of the Battle of Vicksburg. What the hell is her talent?

Amos said...

For a second there I thought she was talking about Dreams from My Father.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

People who pay attention to Oprah (1) stay home, but,(2) don't work at home. Whether she's fooling people like that or fooling herself is a matter of no consequence. Or should be. And if I hear one more time about how much more or less she weighs now that she did X months or years ago, I'm gonna lose it, I swear.

Cedarford said...

Bissage - Still, a little poetic license can be a good thing too.

Does it really change the horribleness of the Holocaust to say a little girl tossed an apple over a fence?


It does if the Holocaust, Holmador, Armenian slaughter, even "Viet Nam Vet tales of suffering" become less a collection of vetted historical sources and more into a narrative manipulated by fabulists, people trying to concoct personal damages up to sue, people making up tales of bravery and phony medals for prestige.
And people with agendas that demand we blindly accept their numbers and data as "core truths" or we are "bigoted". Even "law-breaking deniers".

So the Russians pass laws where free speech questioning "23 million dead!" is forbidden. Some Euro nations over-reacted and passed laws that said any questioning of the "Holocaust Narrative" created by Israelis and Jewish scholars constitutes "Denial!", and face criminal penalties if transgressed, even by historians established in acedemia questioning numbers and "facts".

Not to be outdone, the Turks and Chinese made it a crime to challenge their official narrative about the Armenian and ChiCommie Democides. So not only deniers! can go off to jail, but also affirmers! - depending on country.

In America, of course, we do things differently...where academics are free to dispute "the black slavery genocide" or the feminist claim that the SuperBowl provokes an orgy of wife-murders and violence.
American Academics free to dispute it all, but also free to be denied tenure for various BS legally vetted written reasons but actually for expressing "incorrect thoughts" challenging orthodoxy.

Darcy said...

Good advice, Bissage. I'll do that. I loved the book, and found it pretty brutally honest (not exactly flattering to the storyteller), but I'm sure there is always embellishment to find.

siyeh pass said...

Lying about your past is an evil, the severity depending on the degree to which it affects others.

Again, ‘he tried and failed, but the attempt was not evil.’ Who exactly is the victim here and to what extent was there harm done? I really don’t see this rising to the level of evil, either.

Why tell the truth, ever? Because it’s the right thing to do, of course, if at your core integrity matters to you. Who cares if a lie makes someone rich? What the liar doesn’t realize is that they are doing greater harm to themselves that they ever could to anyone else. Yeah, they got the book deal, but not much else. It depends on what you value.

Berwick said...

At least he didn't make up the fact he was actually in a concentration camp, that would have been a lot worse. But who is Walzer to tell Rosenblat how bad it was in the concentration camps?

And by the way according to the Forbes 400, Oprah Winfrey isn't even in the top ten of the richest American women. She might however be the richest self made woman in the US.

Mister Snitch! said...

"Does it really change the horribleness of the Holocaust to say a little girl tossed an apple over a fence?"

"Horribleness"?

Paul Snively said...

Darcy: "I recommend the book Maus."

I presume that you mean the two graphic novels, Maus?

Darcy said...

Yes, Paul Snively.

Brian said...

This is racism against Oprah. No one would point this out if it were Katie Couric.

newton said...

Is the literary fiction market that bad (and the number of people willing to believe anything too great), that people would rather buy anything that says "non-fiction", however of a hoax it is?

William said...

Pogo's objections to my post were intelligent and well taken...It is a rare person though who does not try to deck out the banality of his existence with a few romantic fables....When I think of people living a life of lies, I can't help but think of my own parents. I am the illegitimate son of JFK and Marilyn Monroe. My parents lived their lives under the delusion that I was their natural child. I suppose originally they wished to shield the facts of my adoption from me. Then the lies built upon themselves, and they came to believe in them. I went along with the game and pretended to believe their lies, but we all knew the truth. It was sad to watch those two ordinary people tell such extraordinary lies to themselves in order to glorify their existence. But I suppose we are all capable of self delusion.

From Inwood said...

I thgink that he said that "it was seared, seared in my memory".

vnjagvet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vnjagvet said...

William's last post is an interesting take.

Had the story used the same title plus a colon and the words, "A Fable", it may well have gone on to become a best seller. And with good reason.

Fables have a way of teaching by way of embellishment and exaggeration.

I suspect that the fact that the author and his wife, both holocaust survivors, having met up in the USA in the late 50's, fallen in love, married, and stayed married for all of those years was reason enough for them to think their life together was a miracle.

That would have been a perfectly valid motive to share their good news with others.

Because Rosenblat and his editors did not label the book correctly as a fable, it comes off as a hoax. But is the book's central theme (some love is a truly miracle) really a hoax?

BrutcherSP said...

Why do these people - I mean the ones caught "embellishing" their autobiographies - feel the need to sell their BS as FACT? There's so much latitude in literature. This guy wrote a lovely, inspiring story. Why didn't he just market it as a semi-autobiographical, based-on-real-events, poetic-license-taken historical novel?

Sure, you could still say that it trivializes the Holocaust by depicting something nice happening at a concentration camp. So? Uncle Tom's Cabin depicted a happy slave - yet it was still a best-selling novel and helped change many people's minds about slavery. And Harriet Beecher Stowe never got busted for claiming she was Eva.

I wonder - do these authors decide on their own to market their stories as biography, or is there some pressure from agents or publishers? Just who is deceiving whom?

Big Mike said...

Brian, you are dead wrong. If it were Katie Couric people would be even more eager to dump on her.

On the other hand, if it were Walter Cronkite, he has historically gotten away with everything.

The Crack Emcee said...

"The Obama angle. You know, Oprah's gullibility is no joke."

Ann, I'm sorry to invade your space like this but I just commented on some of the more troubling aspects of this phenomena, on your site, here. I'm hoping you, Glenn, other bloggers and/or your readers, etc., will finally take the subject seriously. I don't see Oprah as gullible but dangerous:

And, I think, we're in serious trouble as a nation.

From Inwood said...

Pogo has pretty much said it all.

False witness not to bear be strict;
And cautious, ere you contradict.

(Clough, The Latest Decalogue.)

But I will add a story & a reference to law.

I had an uncle who fought in Europe during WW II.

Enough to live on with true stories?

Apparently not.

He always said that he'd "taken part in the invasion of Normandy". Seemed like a strained construction to me, but if pressed, he always moved the subject to the battle of The Bulge.

When Cornelius Ryan was writing his book on Normandy, The Longest Day, he put out the word for soldiers to tell him their stories. I think he had one in the NYT Book Review. Anyway, I heard about it somehow & suggested to Unc that he get in touch. He declined, saying that his story was nothing special, which only made him more of a hero around my family. I suspected nothing, trusting the fact that he was not a BSer like so many adults.

When Unc died he left a "Black Box", which contained, among other things, a mimeographed copy of a history of his unit. I began to read it since I'm a WW II buff. It began in 1942 & traced the unit's movement through the U.S. South & on to England. I read on & all of a sudden it's D-Day & the unit is still in Merrie Old England. Fast forward & it lands on the beach at the end of June. The end of June? The Good Humor Man was selling popsicles on the beaches by then!

I'm conflicted: do I remember Uncle as part of a Great Crusade or as a Great BS artist?

After all. he never actually said that he, you know, personally was, you know, pinned down under fire on Normandy on, you know, June 6th. Or that it was seared, seared, in his memory.

That's why the Securities law anti-fraud provisions, knowing the type to be covered in the area of securities’ sales, make unlawful not only any flat-out untrue statements, but also omitting a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading (in other words, put it in context.), & also make unlawful engaging in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person.

Or as the trial mantra has it "The truth, the whole truth...." (ital supp)

Freeman Hunt said...

People who pay attention to Oprah (1) stay home, but,(2) don't work at home. Whether she's fooling people like that or fooling herself is a matter of no consequence.

Except that those people paying attention to her (3) vote and (4) are often responsible for raising children. What they think matters. A lot. Is Oprah making them dumber? If so, doesn't that matter?

Berwick said...

From Inwood:

Your uncle was technically and substantially correct if he limited is statement to "taken part in the invasion of Normandy". By the end of June the troops were still bogged down in the hedgerows and the success of the invasion was still in doubt. The battle for Normandy didn't finally get resolved until the middle of August.

Steve Rosenbach said...

I first read a synopsis of this guy's (false) story in a widely-circulated email that urged me to send it to everyone I know. A few details struck me as dead wrong, and after a minute of googling, I found several historians who also spotted the holes in the story.

Now, I'm no historian, just a Yosel-average 58-year-old Jewish American who knows a little about the Shoah. But if it only took me a few minutes to see through, what's with Oprah, her publisher, and all those high-priced, "educated" people who are supposed to check out these sort of things.

It reminds me so much of Rathergate - people like Oprah so much wanted to believe this was true that they willfully suspended disbelief.

There are millions of important, true stories about the Shoah - we don't need to mix in any lies.

The Crack Emcee said...

"If it only took me a few minutes to see through, what's with Oprah, her publisher, and all those high-priced, "educated" people who are supposed to check out these sort of things."

The links, people, I'm giving you the links!

The Crack Emcee said...

One more time:

Here's my previous comment, Folks.

Come on, you'll get this: I know it.

blake said...

Go Ask Alice.

blake said...

Also, I don't think your Skeptoid link points where you want it to, Althouse.

Suzie said...

Especially after James Frey, I can't figure out why Oprah wouldn't have seen the bloggers like Deborah Lipstadt who said their story couldn't be true way back in 2007. This hoax is a tragedy especially now, when Bernie Madoff's have given Jewish good name a black eye. I am appalled to hear that the movie maker is still proceeding to make a movie based on this lie.

There are so many other worthwhile projects based on true love stories from the Holocaust like the one about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt - the beautiful young woman who painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the children's barracks at Auschwitz - and after the liberation met and married the animator who did the original Disney movie. What a romantic love story.

I also love Dina's story because of her tremendous courage to paint the mural in the first place, which caused her to have to stand up to Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She was so brave to stand up to Mengele and convince him to make her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber. Some of these paintings Dina did for Mengele survived the war and are at the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum, and the story of her painting the mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the children's barrack has been corroborated by many other Auschwitz prisoners, and of course her love and marriage to the animator of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the Disney movie after the war in Paris is also documented, so Dina's story is true beyond any doubt. Why wasn't the Rosenblatt's story checked out before it was published and picked up to have the movie made??

I would like to see true and wonderful stories like Dina's be publicized, not these hoax tales that destroy credibility and trust.

The Crack Emcee said...

Blake,

As Steve Salerno said (he just had this article in the Wall St. Journal, and wrote SHAM: How The Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless) not taking this "movement" seriously - treating it as a "acid" joke - is the best cover it will ever get.

Sigh.

Look, here's the ultimate example I can give of how Oprah's beliefs harmed my life. You'll never see such things in the news.

Now, could you dismiss that?

Mister Snitch! said...

Oprah doesn't believe in judging a cover by its book.

Methadras said...

Where do you start with Rosenblatt's motivation(s) for writing a fictitious account. So the road to good intentions is paved to a mass grave?

"... to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world."

This man is a fool, a naive fool that fooled other people who are as naive as he is. Or he is an evil genius who fooled naive people to believe his emotional rhetoric as a tool to line his pockets. If your intent is to spread love, tolerance, and good in the world, it really isn't that hard to do by just being truthful about it, but oh wait, the mediocre truth wasn't a good seller now was it? If people spent there time being honest instead of working hard at being deceitful, things in this world would be so different.

yunkndatwunk said...

"poetic license" does not apply to a supposedly truthful memoir. There is no room for poetic license in a biography or auto biorgraphy.

People are so ignorant of history, of the sciences, we don't need people like Oprah and this writer filling their heads with mumbo jumbo.

blake said...

Emcee--

Actually I stumbled upon your story a few weeks ago.

How's that faith in humanity coming along?

AllenS said...

You want a local BSer? How about Freder. Remember back when he was telling war stories? His wife was reputedly sent to Iraq by the evil Bushitler. Remember that tall tale? There is a reason that his profile is blank.

The Crack Emcee said...

Blake,

I'm hanging in there.

It last got kinda shaken when a friend visited for Christmas and we watched "Hancock" and "The Dark Knight" - two awful movies with very warped NewAge moral underpinnings - how about an evening of cheating lovers/adulterous spouses, talk of people as Gods, bad storytelling, etc.? Made me wonder about what passes for "entertainment" in NewAge Hollywood - and what the rest of the world thinks of it.

Is it any wonder things seem to be going to Hell?

Juba Doobai! said...

She had a great story in Sarah Palin and refused to give her air time.

Oprah! Oprah! Oprah!

From Inwood said...

Berwick

Yes, thanks. I know what happened in 1944 & I know that my uncle did do some hard fighting, perhaps in the area encompassing the province of Normandy, & so I’ve rationalized my uncle’s web of deception but, in reality, like the bad securities salesmen, Unc simply didn't tell the whole truth or put his "Normandy" service in context.

Those few who hit the beaches are the ones who we celebrate when we talk about “the invasion of Normandy” & that is why Unc didn't mind his listeners putting him back ab initio. If he had told the tale exactly as you wrote, there'd be no problem of misrepresentation. As it is, little Inwood & his cousins & other aunts & uncles saw this uncle charging up the beaches on D-Day.

So my personal question, & I've perhaps belabored this, is why did Unc need to let his listeners assume that he'd done more when he'd done enough?

And then, initially, my reaction was the same with this fairy-tale “life in the concentration camp”. I simply thought, heck, he'd been in the in the camps & as for embellishing the truth, Oh, well it’s just like Unc….

But on reflection, & after reading what Pogo wrote, I came back to reality. In this prison-camp case, “embellishing” is euphemistic; it’s really sugar-coating the horrors to pretend that someone could have had a daily dose of happiness. This is counterfeit history & confuses students & enables Holocaust Deniers.

To paraphrase Richard Neuhaus paraphrasing Santayana: It is not only that those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. It is also that those who do not study actual, unadorned history are deprived of the lessons that can strengthen their resolve to resist those who would repeat it.

The Oprah sentimentalizing of history is a fraud.

From Inwood said...

vnjagvet, a book’s central theme as you’d have it “some love is a truly miracle” would not be described in any event as a "hoax". It’s the stuff that fleshes the ideal, the theme out that we label as “true enough”, “hoax”, or “just fantasy”.

If, in your hypothesis, this story was like those movies where we have the A-bomb at Pearl Harbor & nuke the Japanese right back or something like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court, then it would not just be fiction: it would be escapist fiction; pure fantasy. And, as such, it wouldn't be held to strict Historical standards, & QED no hoax.

To the extent that this fictional story was, nevertheless, presented as "could've happened" or, worse a roman a clef it's still a hoax; it’s a counterfeit history of the people here that supposedly brought about your miracle.

And it's Oprah-ization through fiction.

Hey, after all, Hitler & Eva may be a miracle love story of sorts; and there’s Joe & Magda Goebbels….

rcocean said...

This is Oprah, sir. When the legend becomes fact, televise the legend.

Kirk Parker said...

No reason he couldn't have done as Dave Eggers did in What is the What?--explicitly present it as a fictionalized account. Worked for Eggers (and Valentino Achak Deng, Eggers' primary source for the material in the book.)

Robert said...

"To her estimated total audience of 100 million, many of whom uncritically accept every word the world's wealthiest woman says, she promotes the paranormal, psychic powers, new age spiritualism, conspiracy theories, quack celebrity diets, past life regression, angels, ghosts, alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy, anti-vaccination, detoxification, vitamin megadosing, and virtually everything that will distract a human being from making useful progress and informed decisions in life. Although much of what she promotes is not directly harmful, she offers no distinction between the two, leaving the gullible public increasingly and incrementally injured with virtually every episode.

When you have a giant audience, you have a giant responsibility. Maybe you don't want such a responsibility, in which case, fine, keep your mouth shut; or limit your performance to jokes or acting or whatever it is you do."

Oh, so in other words, Oprah's show is the daytime version of Coast To Coast AM.

Makes sense to me!