Narrative is narrative

One wants to trust ones paper.

I’m probably old fashioned in the sense that I believe what I read in the paper. I grew up in a time when the newspaper and the radio new were the only sources of reliable, credible information about the world. (For whatever reason, I have always discounted television as actual news.) I was also a young adult in the Time of Reagan, so I was pretty much afraid that the world would come to an end, and, if I went camping or something, I would miss it.  

And so when I heard Malcolm Gladwell talk on This American Life about his time at The Washington Post—a paper that not only was my hometown paper but was also a significant source of income, since I had been a carrier (in those days, a paperboy, a proud moniker)—I assumed he was being pretty much entirely, though believably, facetious. Continue reading

Eaten by Narrative

There is something weird and utterly fascinating about the newest case of ‘literary fraud.’ Which is to say that I come at this as a consumer of narrative. Not (at least I hope to think) as a tut-tutting moralist with any sort of moralistic judgment to make.

A young woman (Margaret B. Jones/Margaret Seltzer) creates a narrative that she sells as a memoir of a not-so-privileged life. Dupes willing agent and willing publisher. She gets major review in the New York Times. She gets a big puff piece in the New York Times. Then her sister, for whatever reason, exposes her as a fraud upon seeing the latter piece.  

One can only wonder at the level of self-deception necessary to think that she’d actually pull this off. Continue reading