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AlterNet: Literary Frauds Strike Again ... and Again

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 07:00 AM
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AlterNet: Literary Frauds Strike Again ... and Again
Literary Frauds Strike Again ... and Again

By John Dolan, AlterNet. Posted March 8, 2008.

A Valley Girl masquerades as an L.A. gangster and a Catholic woman says she's a Jew raised by wolves. Why do people keep falling for such frauds?



Say you meet me at a party and I tell you that when I was 7 years old, I killed a full-grown military officer, then ran off and was nurtured by a pack of wolves. Would you believe me or begin edging away quietly, keeping the snack table between us at all times?

Or say I'm a healthy-looking, articulate young white woman, and I tell you I used to work for the Bloods in L.A. -- a full-time gun-strapped gangbanger. Would you believe me or laugh in my unbruised, orthodontured face?

If you said you would believe these stories, then please stand by -- the process of natural selection will be along for you in a moment. More likely you scoffed at the idea you'd fall for such obvious crap.

But hordes of otherwise intelligent readers did believe those ridiculous stories, as told in two recent "memoirs" later shown to be invented: Misha Defonseca's Surviving With Wolves features a child killing an SS officer and being saved by wolves, and Margaret B. Jones' Love and Consequences is a gang "memoir" by a white girl from a nice, stable family. "Misha Defonseca" was born Monique de Waal, a Belgian Catholic girl. "Margaret B. Jones," supposed author of Love and Consequences, is actually Margaret Seltzer, a white woman who grew up with her intact biological family in California's San Fernando Valley. She has none of the Native-American ancestry she claims, nor did she grow up with the black foster brothers she describes in her book.

The way Seltzer's hoax was revealed shows the gap between mainstream and literary value. When Seltzer's sister read about these claims to infamy in Love and Consequences, she was outraged and started phoning everyone she could to reveal that it was all lies. ......(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/story/79053 /




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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 07:09 AM
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1. what troubles me about these literary forgeries
Is how they can do what they do without any thought of a higher goal, such as educating others, putting some valuable thoughts in the marketplace of ideas, etc. No, their goal is purely profit.

The movie with Richard Gere playing Clifford Irving made me wonder about that, too.

It takes a good deal of thought, effort, time, and discipline to write a book and if the person is capable of it, why not just make it fiction and be done with it?

Whitley Streiber has provided a contemporary model of how to do fiction that can be interpreted as fact (if one wishes). Why not just follow this model and avoid the repercussions?



Cher
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