Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Haley's comet just flamed out- Turns out that Roots was in large part a work of fiction, and a plagiarized one at that. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Alex Haley is dead, so he can't be punished for what he did. The story, while false in detail, may still give a "true" rendition of the slavery era. Saving Private Ryan might represent D-Day better than archival footage, even if it might have fudged some details. With Haley gone, we can enjoy and be moved by Roots as a piece of literature. However, if we catch your goof while you're living, you'll face the consequences. Nobel Peace Price winner Rigoberta Menchu fudged her autobiography, taking horror stories from other indigenous women in Guatemala and passing them off as hers. Defenders of her battle to help the natives against the land owners and Eurocentric government would point out that, like I just did with Roots, that the metastory is true, even if it didn't happen to her. Only God can deal with Alex Haley; we can deal with Menchu, Ambrose and others that lie or plagiarize by knocking their prestige down a peg or two and fact-checking their derrières until they've regained our trust. Thanks to Relapsed Catholic for the Roots link.
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