The most astute reaction to news anchor Brian Williams’s claim that he “misremembered” being present inside a US Army helicopter when it was shot down in Iraq can be found in a meme now ricocheting through the Twitter-verse. It features a picture of Lord of the Rings’s Boromir beneath the text, “One does not simply ‘misremember’ being shot down by RPG fire in Iraq” — a play on the character’s oft-quoted warning against walking into Mordor.
It’s too bad Williams never got the memo, because the disgraced journalist and managing editor of NBC News has become social media’s clown du jour. The hashtag #BrianWilliamsMisremembers trolls his knack for telling yarns by placing him at the scene of history’s most recognizable events. “The food at the last supper was pretty terrible, so I ordered pizza,” he brags from within da Vinci’s famous painting, where he’s pictured crashing Jesus’s final meal. In the past few days, Twitter users have sited Williams everywhere from JFK’s convertible to Tupac Shakur’s passenger seat, making the question of where he was or wasn’t ever more complex.
Williams is only the latest in a painfully long line of fallen journalists who have twisted the facts, including The New York Times‘s Jayson Blair, USA Today‘s Jack Kelley, The New Republic’s Stephen Glass, and The Washington Post’s Janet Cooke. But unlike Williams, none of them have had to face up to the digital crowd. In recent years the time honored tradition of roasting public figures — the delight of every newspaper cartoonist — has become increasingly democratic. Might the laughing masses be enough of a deterrent to future would-be fibbers?
Let’s hope the conversation doesn’t stop there. The absurdity of the Williams debacle shows just how greatly we need thoughtful and analytic criticism to address how the media slid to a place where the most recognizable face in news thought he could get away with a lie and did so for 12 years. At a time when journalists around the world are being murdered for telling the truth — as former Washington Post writer Betty Medsgert noted more than a decade ago, an observation that holds true today — serious self-examination is in order. In the meantime, though, have a laugh.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Lee Lozano, Cindy Sherman, Tokuko Ushioda, Anas Albraehe, and more.
The art establishment was never quite sure what to do with a self-taught artist like Basquiat, who owed as much to bebop and William S. Burroughs’s cut-up technique as he did to African influences.
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Kadish’s fossil-like heads, forms, and figures remind us that every civilization, including our own, eventually collapses.
In every role she held, Vendryes advocated for marginalized people and celebrated the cultural contributions of the Black and queer communities.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Stanton, who died of AIDS complications in 1984, left behind an engaging body of work, a moving tribute to a bygone generation of creative minds.
Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis and Danny Boyle’s miniseries Pistol are both overly fixated on the influence their respective musicians’ managers had on them.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
In the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, arts workers and reproductive rights organizations are collaborating on educational resources for accessing safe procedures.
The couple launched the Futureverse Foundation, a grantmaking organization that aims to “help keep the metaverse widely accessible.”
The museum’s “pay-what-you-wish” policy will remain in place for New York State residents and tri-state students, but out-of-state adults will pay $5 extra.