mortenson, twin defrauders and the borgias

Screenshot from the 1924 movie Greed, Erich von Strohelm

A funny confluence of events has led me to this post.

My friends and loved ones know I love to watch odd things while I cook in the kitchen. Lifetime movies, reality ER shows, the cooking channel, and crime thrillers. Maybe because all of these are shows I can “half” watch…slip in and out while I stir the garlic which sizzles in the olive oil, or peel potatoes.

One show I was watching yesterday was about two twin sisters who have defrauded people in dozens of states in the US over a period of years, not only once but numerous times…to the same people! Yes, and their names are Birdie Jo and Becky Jo Hoaks (pun intended?…). An unbelievable story of how some people can just lie so convincingly, take advantage so heartlessly of others’ kindness.

The Borgias…a great series on Showtime which I devour with the same passion I did the Tudors (well not quite as much passion because really there is little to titillate unless one is into power and politics, not nearly as much eye candy or smexing). It shows the Machiavellian (and yes, Sir. Machiavelli appeared himself in the last episode) evil behind this family and their machinations for power under the guise of religion.

And today, Mr. Mortenson, the one who has sold three million books (the profits of which went directly to his pocket) while scamming, it seems, so many into believing he was this far from sainthood. Apparently, if the stories end up being true that 60 Minutes and his former colleagues and friends claim, he is just another one who may have started with good intentions but who got carried away by greed and love of the limelight.

I followed some of the links to his website to read his responses to all of this (after seeing the look of panic he had on his face when he was ambushed by 60 minutes which had guilt written all over it), and really did try to keep an open mind, but honestly his reponses were just not convincing, and his opportune description of the heart condition which apparently no one knew of until now, and which is keeping him from being able to speak with the media, well…. let’s just say it makes one pause. I hope he is honest, and that this is all just misinformation, and I hope he is not really ill. But…hmmmm.

So, you see, whatever evil or twisted intents and acts one can conjure up probably happened somewhere, sometime. We are human you see, all of us, from popes to philanthropists. Humans one and all, with all our glorious flaws and all our perceived beauties.


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