Do you lie?” was the question posed to three online David Bowies (one actual, two impostors) at the September cyberlaunch of the single ”Telling Lies.” ”Only if it serves my purposes,” replied a bogus Bowie, who seemed to speak for many this year.
— After repeated denials, columnist Joe Klein confessed to writing the political roman a clef Primary Colors. In his Newsweek postmortem, Klein said he found it unsettling when people ”believed my initial fibs.”
— Lorenzo Carcaterra, on the other hand, admitted only to changing a few details in his 1995 ”memoir,” Sleepers, despite numerous cries of hoax. With 1996’s release of the movie, Carcaterra’s former school, Sacred Heart of Jesus, revealed the results of its own investigation: During the six months the author insists he spent in a reformatory, where he was raped by guards, he was absent from school only 19 days. (Carcaterra claims Sacred Heart doctored its records.)
— Digital alteration of a Ladies’ Home Journal cover removed one of Cher’s tattoos and put her in a lilac frock that even her tacky ’70s alter ego Laverne would have nixed.
— Esquire’s deadpan profile of Allegra Coleman was a parody of celebrity journalism (”Her lips are so big, they look like those Halloween wax jobs”) that seemed obvious to the magazine’s editors. But a lot of people didn’t get the joke, including some Hollywood honchos who called to cast the fictitious starlet in real movies.
— In the only career move left, former Eight Is Enough tyke Adam Rich okayed a phony obit/tribute in Might magazine.
— Was it real or just a mind game? In the last minutes of Paul Davids’ documentary Timothy Leary’s Dead, surgeons saw off the psychedelic sage’s head for cryonic freezing. Leary’s stepson, Zachary, and others say the decapitation was fake.
— Deception was the rule in movies like The Adventures of Pinocchio, Secrets & Lies, The Crucible, and A Self-Made Hero, in which a Gallic shlub reconstitutes himself as a veteran of the French resistance. Next year’s Liar, Liar will star Jim Carrey as a prevaricating lawyer who tries to keep honest for 24 hours, so untruths will continue to be no stranger to fiction.