Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Cups of Tea just isnt enough

What it is with memoirs right? I guess we are just afraid our lives haven't been interesting enough to warrant other peoples attention or at least their money. The memoir industry is booming because we are a secular people who value truth over fiction. Some of us. The digital age has a bit of the Titanic about it in that we feel there is nothing we cannot do with our laptops smart phones and IPADS. Certainly Captain Smith thought much the same as he passed through those coal black ice fields. But we are certainly a tech people now and tech people want their reality until they are told it is fiction and then we pick very carefully.

But the stamp of THIS REALLY HAPPENED can be Fools Gold for some in publishing and for some it can be a true gold mine. Somebody who really goes out and does extraordinary things and writes about it has big appeal for a corporate middle class whose decisions have been knocked down to logistical concerns. Kids, money, vacations, retirement, health, ect. Few of us are the swashbuckling explorers of old and so when someone comes along who does something extraordinary and writes about it then we are willing to share a little vicarious adventure.

So it was with Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea adventure story of building schools in Afghanistan. And there it should have ended and Greg could pick up whatever fools gold and real gold due him. But Sixty Minutes had to stick their pesky nose in and prove Greg  (alas) stretched the truth. The old memoir ruse that this actually happened when it maybe didn't. And who knows if people will demand their money back and how far it will go, but in our quest for WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, we unwittingly fall into the realm  of fiction and are thoroughly entertained.

I think it's called suspension of disbelief. Remember that? The Titanic is unsinkable, right? Then it sank and made a hell of a story. Reality stranger than fiction. Or do we have a secret addiction to long as it's true.
Rocket Man will blast off this summer 

Books by William Hazelgrove