Last week we reported on the Roth Society news/events blog that the economics and financial blog, Angry Bear, posted a false story on a new novel by Roth, Becoming Who We Are, and that other blogs seemed to be carrying the piece as actual news. The Society followed up with the writers at Angry Bear, and earlier this week received a response. The author of the piece expressed the reasoning behind the faux story, stating that the last ten years have seemed to be more like something out of fiction than reality, so he thought he’d treat the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 in a similar manner, and who better to reference than Philip Roth. As the author disclosed,
Sadly, the review is purely whimsical, not even docudrama. Speaking strictly for me, I wish the past ten years had been a Roth novel; they would make more sense and have been more interesting. I rather hope he does fictionalize the past ten years, but I suspect Exit Ghost and The Plot Against America are as close as we are going to get.
There was no question that this was a fake story. We were just interested in the reasoning behind it. But whether or not you see any logic behind this activity performed by, of all things, a economics/financial blog, what is most disturbing about the event is the fact that a good number of readers and fellow bloggers accepted this story as gospel, swallowing it without any critical reservations.
Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for us to go back and read Roth’s 1960 essay, “Writing American Fiction.”