A while back -- okay, quite a while back -- I'd been tussling longer than was comfortable with which post would be the next Little Wanderings installment. Should it be the more intimate one on watches? Or did I want to expand, as promised, the territory of the blog with a riff on a lovely a.m. coffee with chic-nerd Danielle Feinberg? Ahead of the release of "Coco," the Pixar director of photography and lighting had returned to her hometown of Boulder for a family visit and to talk to students at the University of Colorado. (Shout out to John Wenzel for this profile in the Denver Post.)
Around the time of this waffling, I was prepping for an interview with Kevin Young for Newsday to coincide with the publication of “Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News."
A capacious work, "Bunk" overflows with evidence of our national penchant for mendacity -- ravenous. absurd, cruel. The Fourth Estate lover in me was especially drawn to chapters on journalist-hoaxers Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit, Jason Blair, and Janet Cooke. The tentative memoirist was struck by passages about James Frey, JT LeRoy and fake Native Americans Grey Owl and Nasdijj.
Young links this fondness for the fraudulent with our racialist past -- and present. He's not always convincing but he is rigorous, vigorous and at times tartly funny. His chapter “Blacker Than Thou” takes on Rachel Dolezal, the onetime head of Spokane’s NAACP chapter, and begins with a line from the Steve Martin comedy "The Jerk: “It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child…” I wonder if Young attended last month’s Tribeca Film Fest premiere of Laura Brownson’s documentary “The Rachel Divide” (produced by African American Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams). A Netflix Original, it's streaming now.
But for all the preponderance of evidence, it was this nearly tossed off observation in a chapter entitled “Cowboys and Aliens” that read like a way too specific horoscope. It was more chilling than a spoon scraping the interior of a tea cup.
“The most characteristic aspect of most any blog is a first few enthusiastic posts, followed by a large gap and a post explaining why the person hasn’t posted, and a public intention to post again — usually followed by silence.”
To quote Jordan Peele and Elaine Benes “ Get Out!”
Enough said. Enough said, that is, or I’ll be in danger of further proving Young's point.