The Story We Tell Ourselves

60 Minutes exposed Greg Mortenson’s memoir Three Cups of Tea, which chronicled him building schools across Afghanistan and Pakistan, as potentially fraudulent. The actions of Mortenson’s associated charity are also suspect. Macy Halford wags her finger:

[T]hough we might still be willing, as a memoir-consuming public, to put up with teensy white lies for a great “true” story, we are way past the point where we’re willing to put up with major fabrications, and we were never willing to put up with profiteering. There’s a tacit understanding between the author of a book that draws attention to a social injustice while proffering a solution and the buyer of that book: the understanding is that the purchase is akin to a donation. We don’t usually seek to know exactly how the money’s being spent, but we assume it’s serving the cause in some non-frivolous way (“60 Minutes” reveals that donations to the Central Asia Institute, the charity that Mortenson set up to run the schools, have gone toward luxuries like private jets for Mortenson).