Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So, it turns out the dream romance was just that, a dream. The story of Herman Rosenblat and wife Roma, who it was said met at a concentration camp as children, then re-met and married years later in America, turns out to be a hoax. Herman Rosenblat excuses the falsehood, which brought his wife and him fame, as just trying to make people feel good.
Well, OK...that's fine, but it's also a bullshit lie. Sometimes people get caught up in their own lies and when they've told the lie long enough it becomes the truth to them. Maybe after all these years to Herman and Roma those 1945 events they described actually happened.
For a time when I was a junior in high school I was a bullshit liar. I told lies about things I can barely remember now. I scratch my head trying to figure my motives. I'm sure there are psychological reasons: wanting to be accepted, wanting to be the center of attention. One day I was at my locker in a hallway crowded with fellow students. A couple of lockers down I overheard two classmates laughing about one of my lies, and I knew I'd been busted. They knew I was lying to them, and I was embarrassed.
When I was telling whoppers I felt like an actor in a play, reciting lines, and I wonder if that's how Herman Rosenblat felt. As humans we're good at lying. Lying and deception are in our psychological makeup, but like a lot of other human behaviors we call it wrong for others yet do it ourselves.
Even though we all tell lies, we have a certain naïve quality that allows others to manipulate us with lies. A while ago I talked about people believing that they were abducted by aliens and taken into UFOs for medical experiments. Some of the people who tell these stories may believe them, but others are lying and they get people to believe them. Our capacity to believe lies makes it easier for a liar to get away with his craft.
Oprah had Herman Rosenblat and his wife on her show, and now that the truth has come out I'm sure she feels betrayed. Other people have been questioning the Rosenblat story for a while, and now that it's been exposed for the lie it is, I'm sure they feel vindicated. But there are other people who, even in the face of the truth, would rather believe the fiction.