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uh oh. fast cars, danger, fire and knives. or just lies.

April 16, 2011

It appears Mr. Mortenson is a fiction writer, masquerading as a non-fiction writer. Or maybe just a liar.

My new found capitalization skills will not apply to my post titles.  This makes it easier for me to distinguish between the posts that I have written and the posts that He has written when I’m doing certain administrator-ly things.  I could’ve used the word administrative there but it sounded much too professional for the activities I’m referring to.  They’re not quite fancy enough to be called administrative.  ANYWAY.  Uh-oh is the word(s?) of the day.  I promise a real data post is coming, hopefully later today.  But in the meantime…a very public example regarding the importance of fact checking.  Some of you are most likely familiar with Mr. Greg Mortenson and his popular book “Three Cups of Tea.”  A great story.  Except it appears that it is perhaps a work of (very) creative non-fiction, perhaps bordering on fiction, rather than the non-fiction piece it has been advertised as.  I’ve heard rumblings of this for awhile, but it appears that things will be blown wide open…CBS will be airing a “60 Minutes” episode regarding the situation tomorrow night.  There’s nothing wrong with blurring that line between fiction and non…it is ever so popular in post-modern (American) writing…(my all time favorite book, Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” comes immediately to mind)…the problem is that it was sold as a work of non-fiction (as opposed to O’Brien’s book which has always remained cloaked in mystery as to the exact nature of it’s fiction/non-fiction components), and, perhaps more importantly, that the book was the foundation, and gave rise, to a “non-profit” organization (Central Asia Institute) which many have donated to.  It is somewhat worrisome when it is discovered that the origin story for a non-profit turns out to be false.  It does not make it a not great story…but I think we could all agree that it changes things and is cause for a bit of wariness regarding the trustworthiness of the organization (and it seems to be a wariness well deserved in this case).  So, it is, I think, still a great story.  But perhaps one that should be regarded as fiction, rather than non.  And however well intentioned…as we have discussed…good intentions are not enough.  Particularly when there’s lies mixed in.  So whether it’s data or stories…make sure to fact check!

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