The Debenedetti inventions
April 4, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Judith Thurman chronicles the fabricated literary interviews penned by Tommaso Debenedetti, an Italian freelance journalist. His subjects include Philip Roth, John Grisham, Gore Vidal, Günter Grass, Toni Morrison, and other famous authors.

Debenedetti said he was completely "shocked and saddened" that all these writers would have denied the veracity of his reporting. When I asked him about the interviews with Roth and Grisham, he flatly denied having invented them, and told me that Roth and Grisham were lying for "political" reasons — because their views on Obama would make them unpopular with left-leaning intellectuals.
posted by The Mouthchew (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know this is horrible journalism, a sign of moral decay, a sad comment on the mental and political state of Mesr. Debenedetti, but, and I am loathe to say this in a public forum but I must.

There is a large part of my psyche that is giggling at his chutzpah.
posted by Dagobert at 10:19 AM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tommaso [Debenedetti]’s father, Antonio Debenedetti, who contributes frequently to Corriere della Sera, Italy’s newspaper of record, is now seventy-three, and an Italian news item recently reported—erroneously—that he had died. To which Antonio had this to say:

It doesn’t happen every day that one denies one’s own death. I’m bothered by the ease with which the media will publish any story without verifying it.

It's a little less catchy than Twain, but rather more appropriate.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2010

When I've read about this a couple of weeks ago I wasn't that impressed. The right wing journos in Italy have done waay worse, and the two fascists newspapers (Libero and Il Giornale) are used to creating news or manipulating them. Think of the douchebaggery of Fox News, turned up to eleven and in paper form.
I'm having more and more problems in explaining Italy to foreigners: it's getting darker and weirder with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Probably the most optimistic thing we could hope right now would be Obama helping us getting rid of fascism once again with a good old invasion.
posted by darkripper at 10:37 AM on April 4, 2010

I've never been a huge Roth fan, but I like the image of him as a literary detective.
posted by leesh at 12:22 PM on April 4, 2010

please do not include Jonathan Safran Foer !

(he's so wildly unimportant, please do not make him feel important)
posted by Substrata at 3:58 PM on April 4, 2010

Wait, are we sure that we aren't just all living in a novel by Philip Roth? Because that would explain pretty much everything about this incident.
posted by No-sword at 8:53 PM on April 4, 2010

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