Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What is it that God does in the Bible?

What is it that God does in the Bible? Put simply, he gets people. He takes care of them. He lays on this monumental justice. Oh the curses, the admonitions; the plagues, the scatterings, the ruinations, the strikings dead, the renderings unto and the tearings asunder. The floods. The fires. It is interesting to note that God as a character in the Bible seems almost always concerned with the idea of his recognition by mankind. He is constantly declaring His Authority, with rewards for those who recognize it and punishment for those who don't. He performs fancy tricks. He enlists the help of naturally righteous humans who become messengers, or carriers of his miracles, or who deliver their people. Each age has by trial to achieve its recognition of Him -- or to put it another way, every generation has to learn anew the lesson of His existence. The drama in the Bible is always in the conflict of those who have learned with those who have not learned. Or in the testing of those who seem that they might be able to learn. And that's what God does in the Bible.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Truth

Good morning. Actually, that's not true. I've just looked at my watch and realized that it's a few minutes after noon. That's a lie. It's early evening. I apologize.

So. Good evening. This isn't easy for me. Wait. That's also a lie. Oddly, this is easy for me. I don't know why, but it is. I very rarely mean it when I apologize to someone. Maybe that's why it's so easy.

Recently, questions have come to light regarding one . . . a few . . . every blog post I've written over a brief period . . . two months . . . four months . . . for a certain popular . . . actually not so popular . . . in truth, rarely read . . . blog called My Daily Struggles.

I'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. Perhaps I should start with my name. Which isn't Gary Freedman. It's Jim Halpert. Actually, that's not true, either. Jim Halpert is a name I heard on the TV show, The Office. My real name is J. Robert Oppenheimer. No, it's not. It's William Faulkner. I'm sorry, that's not wholly true. My birth name is Pierre Dupont Circle. Was. Before I changed it. I'm so sorry. My name, my given name, is Count Almasy. My father was a Hungarian nobleman. Honest. This feels good.

I was wrong to write a blog post titled "How I Burned My Foot." Wrong, too, to make up people's names and quotes. Especially wrong to plagiarize the story about how I burned my foot on a Foreman Grill. I don't even own a Foreman Grill. And I don't eat bacon. I'm kosher. Actually, that's a fabrication. I'm not kosher. But, in fact, I don't eat bacon.

Not a day . . . week . . . season . . . planting cycle passes when I don't think about a travel post I wrote about a trip to Rome I made in 1978. I failed to actually go to Rome, owing to prior commitments as well as to my general lack of interest in Latin countries. It is difficult to express the depth of my sympathy to President Berlusconi of Italy, who is a close friend of mine.

I stand by my blog post about an incident that happened to me while in summer camp in which I wrote that fellow campers doused my buttocks and genitals with green paint. Despite the fact that that was a lie. I stand by both my post and the lie. And I apologize for both.

The post that perhaps did go too far was "My Interview with Jesus Christ." Parts of that story were untrue, though I did strike up a friendly correspondence with Mr. Christ, whom I now claim as a dear friend. Stop it. That's a lie. And a lie is a sin. Mr. Christ told me that.

It is difficult to say why I lied so often, though perhaps it has something to do with having seen my parents brutally murdered when I was nine years old by a deranged cleaning woman while my grandparents, brothers, sisters, and friends languished in a hospital, dying of cancer, leukemia, typhus, and mumps. Which is not what happened, and I am sorry for even typing those words, though I did like, just for a moment the way they looked on the page and the effect they had on you. And on the Pulitzer committee. Sorry.

When the wall of lies finally did come crashing down around me, I remember thinking, Can I lie my way out? I know now that my reaction was a cry for help. And in its own way, for a book contract. I have spent much time in the past few years in the care of a fine Viennese psychoanalyst and believe that I have got to the bottom of my mendacity, a word that the character Big Daddy uses in the play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," by Tennessee Williams. Who was my uncle.

Know this, my fellow bloggers: without honesty, there can be no trust. Even if the blog posts you fabricated were very, very convincing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Borrowed Wings: The Plagiarized Confession of a Plagiarist

I would give almost anything I have to reverse the course of my life in the last year. The past doesn't change for anyone. But at least I can learn from the past.

I've learned a lot about life. I've learned a lot about myself and about the responsibilities any man has to his fellow man. I've learned a lot about good and evil -- they're not always what they appear to be.

I was involved, deeply involved, in a deception. I have deceived my friends, and I have millions of them. I lied to the American people. I lied about what I knew and then I lied about what I did not know. In a sense, I was like a child who refuses to admit a fact in the hope that it will go away.

Of course it did not go away. I was scared, scared to death. I had no solid position, no basis to stand on for my self. There was one way out and that was simply to tell the truth.

It may sound trite to you, but I've found myself again after a number of years. I've been acting a role, maybe all my life, of thinking that I've done more, accomplished more, produced more than I have. I have had all the breaks. I have stood on the shoulders of life, and I've never gotten down into the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own. I have flown too high on borrowed wings. Everything came too easy.

The foregoing is the testimony of Charles van Doren before a Congressional committee investigating the TV quiz show scandal of the late 1950s.