Fabricated Memoir Sparks Anger, Sadness

Re: News of Fabricated Holocaust Memoir Sparks Anger, Sadness

man stretching the truth
How does the saying go? Oh yeah! "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." And good intentions is what Herman Rosenblat and his wife had when they told a tall tale to those in the publishing world. The AP article quotes Rosenblat as saying, "I wanted to bring happiness to people...I brought hope to a lot of people. My motivation was to make good in this world." So, the Rosenblats stretched the truth to fit their good intentions.

According to the AP article, "Rosenblat's believers included not only his agent and his publisher, but also TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, film producers, journalists, family members and strangers who ignored, or did not know about, the warnings from scholars that his story did not make sense."

Publishers LunchRelated news were also listed in today's Publishers Lunch, which talked about the repercussions of this fabricated tale in a children title. This 12/29/08 edition of Publishers Lunch tells us that, "Lerner Publishing Group, also duped into publishing Herman Rosenblat's fake Holocaust love story in the children's book ANGEL GIRL (released this September), is recalling the book. The company is "issuing refunds on all returned books" and "no longer offering the book for sale."

This is a financial hit to the publisher...at a time when publishers are having to watch the bottom line more than ever. And, by default, it's also a hit to authors everywhere wanting to get their manuscripts to press. Publishers Lunch quotes the author of the recalled Lerner Publication title as saying, "throughout the development of this book, the Rosenblats reviewed my manuscript and assured me of the authenticity of the details of their story. Unfortunately, I, like many others, am disappointed and upset to now learn of Herman's fabrications."

Regardless of who's to blame for yet another publishing misstep, with the Rosenblats being the primary culprits on this one, the result is the same and it's not a good one. The AP article is right when it states that, "Publishing, the most trusting of industries, has again been burned by a memoir that fact-checking might have prevented."

Whose responsibility is it to vet information sources prior to acquiring or publishing a manuscript? I always thought it was the author's responsibility. The literary agent and publisher can and probably should require backup research from the author. But must they now add the role of detective to their already overloaded job descriptions? What could the various gatekeepers within the publishing world have done to guarantee that what they were hearing from the Rosenblats was true information? Write back and let me know what you think.


Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night

On myspace page tonight I received a comment in the form of a youtube video. The video is of the recording of El Inmortal (The Immortal) by Manny Montes. It's a rap in honor of the one whose birthday we celebrate today. Regardless of whether December 25th is Jesus' actual birthday or not, it's the date that's been set aside to celebrate it. Here are the lyrics to the song, in Spanish, and the English translation

Most of us are familiar with the Christmas story, regardless of whether we follow the Christian religion or not. Manny starts out with the storyline most of us are familiar with, "He didn't have to do it, nevertheless he did it. They spit on him, hit him, threw him on the floor. They punched him, mistreated him and whipped him." We've seen this story depicted in movies and read it ourselves or have had the story read to us over the years.

The second verse in the song makes it personal when Manny raps, "And there I was with the whip in my hand. And there I was piercing his side. And there I was nailing his hands. Because it was you and I who crucified him." During the choir Manny tells us why Christ is called The Immortal. And then the song goes on to say who it is he died for...from Mother Theresa to Saddam Hussein, from missionaries to terrorists.

A powerful take on the Christmas story, as told by a young Puerto Rican rapper. What do you think?


Insult a man to sell a product

Is anyone as tired as I am of seeing commercials making fun of men in order to sell a product? The latest culprit in this trend is the priceless.com one where a guy gifts his girl with a box of tissues, a paper bag, and a trampoline. Then he opens the drapes and she sees the two matching cars. She faints and lands on the small trampoline he'd placed behind her, bounces right back up, hugs her guy...and smacks him upside the head.

Smacks him upside the head? Why? Because he teased her with smaller gifts while all along he was going to show her the cars he had bought? Every single time that commercial came up I switched channels. The guy in the commercial is the cutest thing ever. He absolutely does not deserve to be hit. His face expressions are, well, priceless! Here's a guy who knows his gal well enough to know how she is going to react when she sees the car he bought her. She was going to cry, so he'd given her tissues. She was going to hyperventilate, so he'd gifted her with a paper bag. She was also going to faint, so he'd purchased and placed a trampoline behind her.

This guy is a one-in-a-million type of guy! So the smack upside the head was not only out of place, it follows the trend of insulting a man in order to sell a product. I personally would like to see this type of advertising go away. It's insulting not just to men but to those of us who love and appreciate everything men do and stand for.

To their credit, priceless.com has come up with a second version of this commercial. Now, doesn't this second version get the point across just as well without insulting men? Here it is:

Kudos to priceless.com for coming up with this edited version of the commercial. I'd love to hear from others about this topic. What do you think about the idea that insulting men sells products?


THE WOMEN: A how to manual for men

I went to see The Women with four of my girlfriends thinking it'd be a total chic-flick. It was. It's also a great guy-flick, one that will give guys great insights on what women are all about. This movie is AWESOME!!! We laughed throughout the entire movie. It was soooooooo funny!!! They nailed it when it comes to portraying how women often feel about different topics. Eva Mendez says it best in the YouTube video we've posted below. The soundtrack in the video is a bit choppy towards the end but you can still hear what she's saying.

In The Women, Eva Mendez plays Joan Crawford's character from the 1939 version of this movie. My favorite scene was the one in the dressing room. Eva plays "the other woman" brilliantly and wives ought to pay attention to what she's saying.

Diane English is the writer director of The Women. Mendez tells us in the YouTube video that English, "wrote and directed this film and what she wanted to do was have a departure from the original in the sense that it's a different time. Women felt more competitive towards one another back in the day. Now we have so much more opportunities and we're not all fighting for the rich guy because we can kind of do it on our own and there's more of a sisterhood out there. So she really brought it to 2008 and wanted to represent the modern woman."

In the video clip Mendez is asked, "Now for us men, are we going to get some insight to women if we go see this movie?" And Mendez is right on target when she replies, "You will totally figure everything out. You will learn how to deal with us better. You will figure out our psyche. Seeing this movie will change your life and how you deal with women."

I only wish I had the movie script so I could memorize some of the lines in there. I thought it had right-on advice for married women in particular. As women we tend to be all things to all people, to our kids, to our work, to our home, and... oh yeah... to our hubbies, the latter often as an afterthought. One good reminder in the movie was that if we as wives don't take care of our hubbies...someone else will. I think that's true. The movie brought it across in a hilarious manner and in the midst of all the laughing the messages it delivers strikes home.

I highly recommend this movie. I've already ordered my copy from amazon.com. I'd love to hear from those who've seen the movie. What did you think? How did you like it? Did you also see the 1939 version? Do tell! :-)