Turff’s exposé

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American Woman—only not

New York, NY

The haute monde was still reeling Tuesday night after the revelation that a woman it had taken as one of its own was not in fact an elegant Saudi princess but an ordinary, if talented, elementary media specialist from Georgia.

Tamara Pinchme, the American-born wife of Saudi royal Khalid bin Sultan, champion of women’s rights and Bedouin literacy, whose thrilling life story ranged from Hyannisport to Andy Warhol’s Factory to the execution chambers of Riyadh, was revealed Monday morning to be Dale Lyles, a 53-year-old husband and father from Newnan, Georgia.

“I have to give this to him,” said Donald Trump, speaking from his office in Columbus Circle, “he had me completely fooled. I was ready to marry him.”

After a summer of living it up with the glitterati of Manhattan, Pinchme’s cover was blown after the actual Tamara Pinchme, avant-garde novelist from the 1960s, contacted the Times over the weekend. The real Pinchme had been alerted to her doppelgänger’s existence when friends forwarded her web reports of the glamorous princess’s conquests of high society.

Plans to publish Princess Pinchme’s memoirs, tentatively entitled American Woman, were immediately dropped by Grove Press, whose imprint Evergreen Editions had actually published the real Pinchme’s Somewhat Underdressed Brunch in 1962.

“We’re as shocked as anyone,” said Kitty deBourgh, spokesperson for Grove Press, when contacted about the story. “Her life story was deeply compelling and spoke to all of us here at Grove Press. Of course, all we ever saw was the burqa.”

Indeed, Princess Pinchme’s life story was deeply compelling. She came to the attention of New York’s elite after meeting William F. Buckley in the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. Dressed in her trademark red silk burqa, she struck up a conversation with the conservative Brahmin. Before his death he described her voice as “ever soft, gentle, and low—an excellent thing in woman.”

Invitations to soirees and salons were quick to come, and Pinchme fascinated all who met her with the events of her life. In broad outline, Pinchme emerged from Vassar, having been the roommate of Jacqueline Bouvier, and then moved to New York City, where she became the social secretary (and some said lover) of Andy Warhol.

According to several prominent socialites interviewed for this article, it was at The Factory that she met her future husband, the Saudi prince Khalid bin Sultan. She noted that the two did not hit it off immediately, although they slept together the entire first week they knew each other. It was not until they met again, she said, at the Lucerne Film Festival that they knew they were destined for each other.

It was not a marriage made in heaven, she claimed. Almost immediately her free spirits came acropper against the conservative Saudi social structure. She claimed that she repeatedly was nearly beheaded for her stances for women’s rights. “I think they were bluffing each time,” she said. “They knew that my profile was too high to kill me.”

According to Pinchme, the marriage produced five children, but was not a happy one in the end. Claiming abuse from her husband, she fled Saudi Arabia last spring to return to the United States, leaving her children behind.

She also claimed to have championed literacy programs for Bedouin children, instituting “Book Camels” as mobile libraries in the deserts of Arabia. It was this project that attracted the many donations from her newfound friends in the penthouses of Fifth Avenue.bottes ugg pas cher bottes ugg pas cher

Seemingly, none of it was true. The Saudi princess was actually a man, one Dale Lyles from Newnan, Georgia. When contacted by this newspaper on Monday morning, Lyles admitted the deception, which he says got started when he came to New York City on his spring break to do some research for a novel he said he was writing about such a woman.

“A long time ago I did know a woman who was married to a son of the Shah of Iran. She had fled the country after being heavily abused by him. She left her children behind,” said Lyles. “My intent in dressing in the burqa was to gain some insight on how such a woman might be perceived in today’s society as background for my novel. When I met Bill Buckley, I just began to improvise, and it got out of hand. I deeply regret the subterfuge.”

It was not clear at presstime whether charges of fraud against Lyles are pending.

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Distractor Post

Please DO NOT LOOK AT the post immediately under this one!
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Poseur Unmasked!

…The Performing Arts Center’s fundraising Venetian Ball was in full swing. Some say it was at its height. Some say it was the stroke of midnight. A figure of spastic feline grace, wearing silver body tights, a Tiresius breast plate, and masked to resemble Disney’s Dumbo, ran wildly through the hundreds of dancing and mingling Newnan elites crammed into the poorly ventilated, box-like Riverwood Studio soundstage. “Intruder!

Imposter!” the figure shouted in a wincingly high, gender-bending voice. Suddenly it stopped before a tall raven in a tuxedo. Yelling, “I unmask you!,” the silver siren proceeded to do just that, grabbing the raven’s beak and giving it a good yank. Black feathers flew, carried upward by waves of body heat and hot breath. The mask of black shot toward the ceiling, its stilletto-like ebony beak a whip of grief, and then violently hit the floor, the smack of it turning heads in the sudden silence. Moot Hippodrome, congenial bon-vivant, a somewhat eccentric and colorful member of Newnan’s “creative community,” stood revealed, his face flushed red like a freshly opened wound. The crowd pulled back to the walls as the silver figure began a menacing circumnavigation of Hippodrome’s personal space and continued with that dizzying whine, “I know the truth! He is not as he appears! Do not believe his lies, that pitiful story he tells over and over to any and all who ask.” At this point, if you had attempted to observe the eyes of the onlookers, you would have begun to detect a certain gleam, a subtle bulging interest, indicating a veiled feral arousal very much like you would catch in the gaze of a councilwoman slumming at a dogfight. Hippodrome, all who were there would later agree, looked as if he had left his body. The circling prophetic figure ticked off the points one by one as if trying to make a credible presentation to a bank’s loan officer: “–He says he’s a “stay at home dad” but his children are practically in college–He says he’s a “retired clinical psychologist” but he only stopped because insurance questions confused him and he was burned out–He claims to be a “theatre person” but is not even amusing at dinner parties –He claims to spend time “writing” but what…blogs?–He claims to be a teacher but he doesn’t really know anything to teach; he can’t remember what he had for breakfast–He claims to have some kind of interesting academic background but really he was a desperate degree collector addicted to passive alliances with mentors–He claims to be a “musician” but that just means he obsessively improvised when young to deal with anxiety and is now trying to pass off as true ability what he gained through indulging a weak autodidactic impulse–He has “chosen” not to earn a living because he fears any and all forms of competition, not because he’s experimenting with radical principles.” And on and on it went. Eventually Hippodrome left, witnesses claim through a hole in the roof. The silver figure plunged back into the punchbowl, crying, “Poseur unmasked!” The Ball took off once again and hit another height…

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A Note of Explanation: The above is taken from Part II of Tamara Pinchme’s notorious underground classic Somewhat Underdressed Brunch, page 114 in my Evergreen paperback edition, starting three lines from the top (those of you who know the work know there are no paragraphs). I first read the book when I was a freshman in college, and there was something about this particular passage that grabbed me and struck me as strangely familiar. At the time, I had no idea why. Now I see, of course, that it was telling me what would be. Passages from this quirky book have had a similar effect on numerous people since it was first published in 1962. Check out the Pinchme Wikipedia article.

Licky Witherspoon a fraud?

By Beth Norton

bnorton@nytimes.com

“Enthralled” is a word perhaps too often associated with what has become the Lickey Witherspoon phenomenon — a simple Google search comes up with 3,436,905 pairings of the terms “Lickey” and “enthralled” in critical reviews — but no other word comes close to capturing the reaction of millions of viewers when Oprah Winfrey pulled the rug out from Witherspoon live on national television last week.

Witherspoon at first tried to shrug off Winfrey’s increasingly combative series of accusations. He laughed — albeit a bit nervously — when she turned to page 346 of his latest allegedly “autobiographical” tome and then quoted a nearly verbatim passage from a little-known memoir of an obscure Indonesian fisherman. But all laughter ceased when Winfrey asked Witherspoon point blank why he had lied to her last spring about his supposed upbringing in a Texas whorehouse.

“I didn’t lie,” Witherspoon insisted. “To me, it was a whorehouse. Maybe to others it wasn’t. But to me, 1980s suburbia was the worst kind of brothel.”

The revelations didn’t stop there. The New York Times has since learned that Witherspoon, contrary to the picture laid out so colorfully in “Travels With the Garbageman,” never had sex with a baboon, did not miraculously recover from a rare case of bubonic plague, and never learned to speak Cantonese. In fact, Witherspoon isn’t even Witherspoon. His real name, as it turns out, is Jeff Bishop, who until eight months ago was an obscure small-town journalist living in the rural South.

Of course, “Witherspoon” still vigorously denies this.  His publicist stopped returning calls as of Tuesday afternoon, but in his latest public statement on the matter, Witherspoon says he was “ambushed” by Oprah. “I was unprepared and, frankly, shocked by the whole episode,” Witherspoon said. “I never claimed to be anything more than an entertainer. I gave the world what it seemed that the people wanted. No — what they NEEDED. And I suppose, like my father always said, no good deed goes unpunished.”

Rumors have surfaced of sightings of Lickey in Paris, but these are unconfirmed. His publisher says there is no recall planned of any of Witherspoon’s memoirs.

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“We were as dismayed as anyone, when we heard the allegations,” said one rep from the company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But we still don’t feel like we have all the facts. And the book is, frankly, selling more copies following the Oprah incident. Like Lickey says, we’re giving the people what they want.”

Assignment L.08.3

If you haven’t already, go read this post on my blog.

The assignment is to create a separate post for this New York Times story about your tragic exposure as a fraud.

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To create a separate post, click on the Site Admin link in the Meta menu. (Whenever you log in, click on the “Remember me” box and you’ll always be logged in when you come here on that computer.) Then click on the Write tab at the top of the Admin page, and start writing. Remember to click the Assignments category, and the L.08.3 category.

Don’t forget your excuses/apologies!

Spam comments

To pick up with a thread of thought from elsewhere, here”s today”s spam subject line:

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Manhattan redeveloped

Here’s an idea that I had that I will never play with, so feel free to take it. (Hence the newly renamed category Waste.)

I was playing school one day and showing kids what Manhattan looked like so they could better describe Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie, and I fell to musing about the nature of the grid of avenues and streets.C4090-454

Mostly I mused about how we never seem to have caught on to the idea in all the development going on around here.

So, I mused, what would Manhattan look like if it had been developed by the developers of SummerGrove? I posited laying out a patchwork of dead-end streets overlayed on the grid, an exurban hell where now exists the world’s greatest city.

I played with it for a few minutes, even developed the map at left in PhotoShop, but completing it was just not in my schedule.

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I think it would be a great conceptual piece. Feel free to steal it.C4090-453

Welcome!

An appropriately Lichtenbergian seven weeks after the domain name of lichtenbergian.org went live, we finally have our official website open for business.

All of you should have received an email with your username and password. If not, email me.

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Let the wild rumpus begin!