Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I love me a good literary scandal....

So the hotly anticipated (by me anyway) 60 Minutes story on Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson has aired and is now available online:

It's certainly very damming but Mortenson is so far unrepentant. Here is an article from the Washington Post with some rebuttal from him.

I don't think Mr Mortenson is doing himself any favours at the moment with his very thin excuses. Maybe it's time he manned up and told the truth - not just about the facts in his book but what schools actually have been built and how he can justify the massive amounts of money he accepts from his charity for "book expenses" despite earning tens of thousands of dollars in appearance fees.

With all this going on, I have finally picked up my copy of Mortenson's first book "Three Cups of Tea" but am finding it difficult: there’s a little voice in my head going “liar, liar, pants on fire!” as I read.

And I remembered why this book has languished on my TBR shelf for such a long time. The introduction, written by journalist David Oliver Relin who also cowrites the book, lays on the love for Mortenson thicker than Dame Edna lays on makeup. Maybe I have a bit of that that great Kiwi knocking machine in me that doesn't take well to exalting achievements loud and proud or extravagant public displays of adulation for others. Relin would have us all worshipping at the alter of Mortenson given half a chance. I wonder if he still feels the same now he has been hung out to dry somewhat in Mortenson's rebuttal?

But I will plough on with the book; as even his most ardent detractors have acknowledged, Mortenson has done some truly amazing things for Pakistani and Afghani people. I wonder why he felt what he has achieved wasn't enough and needed to be embellished?

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