The Chameleon from Nantes
August 13, 2008 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Frédéric Bourdin can be anyone he wants.
posted by Dipsomaniac (36 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Judging by that picture, he's evidently David Sedaris reacting to a dog farting.
posted by scody at 5:44 PM on August 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


CONSTABULARY NOTES FROM ALL OVER

From the Lantana (Tex.) Cross Timbers Gazette.

Police were dispatched to a hold-up alarm at Johnny Joe's on Hwy 377. When officers arrived, they questioned a newly hired clerk who said that he thought the alarm button was a "fragrance button" to make it smell better.


Also, a cartoon of a guy at a desk & an ad for one of those treadmill pool things.

/NewYorkerFilter
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:53 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


SLNY
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:02 PM on August 13, 2008


Bourdin once wrote, “When you fight monsters, be careful that . . . you do not become one.”

That's funny I thought Nietzsche wrote it first.
posted by nola at 6:03 PM on August 13, 2008


This article came up as a great answer to a question I asked on AskMefi the other day - what an intriguing article and personality!

There's plenty more good stories about similar pathological liars / con-artists linked in that thread, if anyone is interested in more like him.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:04 PM on August 13, 2008


That's a weird coincidence. I hadn't read that thread at all.

Or maybe I'm just pretending.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:07 PM on August 13, 2008


I read that article last week while traveling, which put me in a receptive state of mind. But come on! How could that family in Texas have believed this guy, with differently-colored eyes and a euro accent, could possibly have been their son? And what about Bourdin, with an image of coming to America, finding himself in a southern trailer park? I would've fled for California the first chance I got.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:15 PM on August 13, 2008


Bourdin addresses his anglophone audience on YouTube.
posted by everichon at 6:21 PM on August 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


How could that family in Texas have believed this guy, with differently-colored eyes and a euro accent, could possibly have been their son?

There was one very good reason that will never be proven.

It reminds me very much of a movie -- but which one?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:28 PM on August 13, 2008


Thanks for the fascinating story, Dipsomaniac. It made me think of the conman/'producer' behind "Real Rome", a nonexistant HBO series.
posted by maryh at 6:31 PM on August 13, 2008


everichon, that video is priceless. If he could be anyone he wanted, would he really be a guy whose eyebrows look exactly like the two halves of his mustache? When will Youtube vloggers learn that the up-the-chin angle is a terrible idea?

Still, I am strangely charmed by him. He . . . well, he seems vulnerable.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:34 PM on August 13, 2008


Bourdin addresses his anglophone audience on YouTube.

Uh... does he pick that cat up by it's TAIL!??!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:36 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


also, from linked vid:

"So... for those of you who thinks evil... then stick my dick up your ass!"
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:39 PM on August 13, 2008



Bourdin addresses his anglophone audience on YouTube.


"LEAVE MICHAEL JACKSON ALONE!"
posted by louche mustachio at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2008


"LEAVE MICHAEL JACKSON ALONE!"

He can't seem to. [warning: 30 seconds of bottled-water free-association before moves bust out]
posted by everichon at 6:53 PM on August 13, 2008


It reminds me very much of a movie -- but which one?

Hmmm...so, a movie in which a mother and her oldest son kill her youngest son, then later another person enters their life claiming to be the murdered son...

I don't know. I don't get it. The Bible? Seriously, what's the movie? You're killing me here!
posted by billysumday at 7:12 PM on August 13, 2008


It reminds me very much of a movie -- but which one?

Maybe Olivier, Olivier?
posted by JaredSeth at 7:17 PM on August 13, 2008


I don't know. I don't get it. The Bible? Seriously, what's the movie? You're killing me here!

I mean I can't remember, although it seems as if I have seen something in which a surprise impostor is treated as real by someone who knows that the real person's been murdered. I'll think of it suddenly in a few days, when it's totally irrelevant to whatever I'm doing.

(As an aside, while checking out his Youtube, I noticed and cut out a small image (NSFW) that seems to encapsulate the entire internet.)
posted by Countess Elena at 7:20 PM on August 13, 2008


Yeah, I'm pretty sure he did pick that tail up by it's tail. Asshole.
posted by puke & cry at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2008


cat up by it's tail. I don't know how else you'd pick up a tail other than by it's tail.
posted by puke & cry at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2008


puke & cry - I saw later that in his comments he says "Well yes I did; there is a way to do it and he actually love it..."

...
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:29 PM on August 13, 2008


If the cat didn't rip him to shreds, that can only mean that it's been declawed. Asshole.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:29 PM on August 13, 2008


It's Olivier, Olivier to a T, pretty much.
posted by dobbs at 7:47 PM on August 13, 2008


That's funny I thought Nietzsche wrote it first.

You forget...he can be anyone he wants.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:07 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Countess Elena writes "I don't know. I don't get it. The Bible? Seriously, what's the movie? You're killing me here!"

The Inspector General, starring Danny Kaye, loosely based on Gogol's eponymous novel.
posted by orthogonality at 9:25 PM on August 13, 2008


Shades of the Bobby Dunbar case.
posted by dhartung at 9:52 PM on August 13, 2008


Gogol wrote a novel called Gogol?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 PM on August 13, 2008


Countess Elena, maybe the novel Father's Arcane Daughter, by E.L. Konigsberg? It was made into the surprisingly good TV movie Caroline? in 1990, starring Stephanie Zimbalist.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:58 PM on August 13, 2008


So does the fact that he is also web 2.0 make the whole thing even cooler, or is the intrigue robbed by the fact that he is another youtube attention slut?

Leaning towards the latter, but I haven't had time to RTFA or WTFV yet.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:59 PM on August 13, 2008


8 minutes of a Cartman on Maury was too much.

Whateva, I'll read what I want.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:11 AM on August 14, 2008


That's funny I thought Nietzsche wrote it first.

You forget...he can be anyone he wants.


And playing the part of a nutter shouldn't put undue strain on his acting ability.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:18 AM on August 14, 2008


Gogol wrote a novel called Gogol?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 PM on August 13 [+] [!]


You've never read Gogol on Gogol?!?
posted by basicchannel at 1:46 AM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Spellbinding. How bizarre that his random search for a missing American child resembling him would yield the cover of a family most invested in going along with such a transparent hoax. What an exquisitely excruciating test of nerves on both sides it must have been: them pretending to believe he was their lost brother/son, him pretending to believe that they believed he was Nicholas.

I'm most surprised that he stayed with them for five months. I really wonder why he didn't creep away after a month or two and slip into a new identity. Perhaps he didn't feel confident about how child services, etc. operate in the U.S., and worried about being fingerprinted and identified through Interpol. Unlikely, I'd say. I also wonder what would have happened if “Hard Copy” hadn't wanted to do the story on the "kidnapping" and hired the private detective? He could have waited a couple of years until "Nicholas" became a legal adult, and he would have had a free and clear U.S. identity... though I doubt he would have chosen to live that way. He seems to need a little bit more than that.
posted by taz at 2:35 AM on August 14, 2008


The stories involving children mentioned above sound closer to the facts of this story, but this:

I mean I can't remember, although it seems as if I have seen something in which a surprise impostor is treated as real by someone who knows that the real person's been murdered.

made me think of the movies Le Retour de Martin Guerre and Sommersby. (Though they're sort of lacking in the murder angle - I think family may have suspected the missing person to have died at war, as opposed to knowing about a murder.)
posted by PY at 3:05 AM on August 14, 2008


Gogol wrote a novel called Gogol?

Sure. The Hollywood adaptation was called The Neverending Story.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:05 AM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


You've never read Gogol on Gogol?!?

Was that one of the items in Kafka's secret collection?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:57 AM on August 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


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