Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From Suffering Stolen--To Manufactured

Writing an op-ed for The New York Times, Daniel Mendelsohn describes Misha Levy Defonseca, who told quite a Holocaust story--the kind that makes for a bestseller: "an orphaned Jewish girl who trekked 2,000 miles from Belgium to Ukraine, surviving the Warsaw ghetto, murdering a German officer, and — most “amazing” of all — taking refuge in forests where she was protected by kindly wolves."

The story is a lie--Defonseca is not even Jewish. And there are more fraudulent books like that being revealed--yet people are falling for it and eating this stuff up.

Of course, the problem extends beyond books:
"Think of the Internet: an unimaginably powerful tool for education but also a Wild West of random self-expression in which anyone can say anything about anything (or anyone) and have it “published,” and which has already made problematic the line between truth and falsehood, expert and amateur opinion, authentic and inauthentic identities, reality and fantasy."
Among the most adept at crossing this line is Hamas--whether teaching their children to hate and kill Jews or convincing the media that they are victims resisting Israel, all the while firing rockets not against the military they claim to resist, but the civilian population. And Pallywood goes beyong Hamas itself.

Meanwhile, the world looks on--periodically condemning the rockets, but just looking on. At the same time, the apologists for Hamas, and for Palestinian Arabs in general, parrot the excuse de jour that excuses the murder of Israel civilians. And how they get into the narrative the Palestinians provide for them.

Describing another one of the fictionalized accounts of suffering, Mendolsohn writes:
Perhaps the most dismaying response to the James Frey scandal was the feeling on the part of many readers that, true or false, his book had given them the feel-good, “redemptive” experience they’d hoped for when they bought his novel — er, memoir. [emphasis added]
Whether the pro-Palestinian advocates are looking for some kind of redemption or are just enjoying venting their righteous indignation, they have found a narrative that has provided them with the same empathetic high.

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