December 30, 2008

Oprah, lies, and me

ONCE AGAIN, Ms. Oprah has been turned into Ms. Suckah. This time it was Herman Rosenblat who left Oprah with egg on her face. He wrote a book called Angel at the Fence, a poignant tale of a Jewish girl who threw him apples and bread over the fence of a Nazi concentration camp. Oprah invited Rosenblat and his wife to her show twice, and called his book the “single greatest love story … we’ve ever told on the air.”

Well, as it turns out, the story is bunk. It was a hoax, and Oprah fell for it. This isn’t the first time she has been caught in this way, but I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for her. We have a comfortable arrangement, Oprah and I. She ignores me and I ignore her.

This ignoring business started last year after I wrote a book—a wonderful book and a true book, I might add—about the fascinating South Atlantic island of St. Helena, and its famous prisoner, Napoleon Bonaparte. I thought to myself, now all I need is to get this marvelous book mentioned on Oprah’s show and I’ll make a million. I can retire and never have to write another goddam book in my life. (You won’t credit the amount of actual work it takes to write a book.)

So I e-mailed Oprah, thinking she would want to seize this wonderful opportunity to make me rich, and she ignored me. Never heard a word from her. Never managed to sell the blasted book, either. God, publishers are so stupid. Anyway, without in any way feeling bitter and twisted, I ignored Oprah right back. And serve her right, I said.

But now it occurs to me that the way to get publicity from Oprah is to spin a web of deceit, to tell her the most monstrous lies about yourself and your book, specially if love and sex are involved. That’s how Ms. Oprah turns into Ms. Suckah.

So, okay, now cross my heart and may I die if I should dare to tell a lie, but there are certain facts about my St. Helena book, Walking with Napoleon, that were previously suppressed in the interests of common decency. I have now decided to reveal them. Among them was the fact (are you paying attention, Oprah?) that I am the illegitimate son of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy.

Shortly after birth I was farmed out to a surrogate grandmother in Alabama, some kind of relation of President Clinton’s, I believe. She kept me locked up in a cellar and fed me hominy grits through a crack in the door until I was 11, when I managed to escape and join the Ku Klux Klan. I rose through the ranks, thanks to my skill in arranging the early demise of certain people in novel and interesting ways, but by the time I was 20 I was a lawyer for the Mafia in Chicago, where I met the most gorgeous and entirely voluptuous pole dancer who slipped me free cocktails at my table until I was 26, when I married her and we had a baby called Barack. I shall say no more. The FBI has advised me to keep my big trap shut and is spreading a decoy tale about some black guy from Kenya who conveniently disappeared. Yeah, right.

Nevertheless, the facts speak for themselves. They appear, at face value anyhow, to be just the kind of facts Oprah likes to publicize in that dear, sweet, naive way of hers. I look forward to the early discontinuation of our relationship of mutual ignoration. I am enormously excited at the prospect of being summoned to the Oprah show and never having to put another finger to the bloody keyboard for the rest of my life.

Today’s Thought
A good portion of speaking well consists in knowing how to lie. —Erasmus, Philetymus et Pseudocheus.

Tailpiece
The little wren of tender mind
To every other bird is kind.
It ne’er to mischief bends its will …
(So good. So dull. It makes me ill.)

1 comment:

Jeff said...

This hoax is a tragedy. The Rosenblats have hurt Jews all over and given support to those who deny the holocaust. I don't understand why Atlantic Pictures is still proceeding to make a film based on a lie. I also don't understand how Oprah could have publicized this story, especially after James Frey and given that many bloggers like Deborah Lipstadt said in 2007 that the Rosenblat's story couldn't be true.
There are so many other worthwhile projects based on genuine love stories from the Holocaust. My favorite is the one about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt - the beautiful young art student who painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the children's barracks at Auschwitz. This painting became the reason Dina and her Mother survived Auschwitz. After the end of the war, Dina applied for an art job in Paris. Unbeknownst to Dina, her interviewer was the lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They fell in love and got married. Now that's a romantic love story! I also admire Dina for her tremendous courage to paint the mural in the first place. Painting the mural for the children caused her to be taken to Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but bravely she stood up to Mengele and he made her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber.

Also, Dina's story has been verified as true. Some of the paintings she did for Mengele in Auschwitz survived the war and are at the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. 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.

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.