Monday, March 23, 2009

-Odd Man Out-: It just gets weirder

A while back, I blogged about Matt McCarthy's book Odd Man Out. I liked it. More than one commenter stated that they doubted the accuracy of McCarthy's account of life in the low minors, specifically the 2002 Provo Angels. I stuck with McCarthy until the New York Times pretty well obliterated his credibility by showing not one, not two, but dozens of moments in the book that simply could not have occurred at all as they were written. We're not talking dialogue here, or moments of poetic license. We're talking about literal impossibilities. Many critical events were so far off the actual, documented events surrounding the 2002 Provo Angels that, simply put, it led me to no longer trust McCarthy's version of events. If McCarthy's "detailed journals," as he called them to the Times, are that far off that often, I don't think we can reasonably call the work non-fiction anymore.

So, faced with that evidence, I said that I no longer believed the book was true and that I no longer recommended it.

Now, a few weeks later, the since-quiet comments section on that post receives this comment defending McCarthy:

Wait a minute. Has anyone bothered to follow-up on this story? The New York Times invented almost all of the so-called errors in McCarthy's book. Odd Man Out isn't being retracted. They're not even publishing a revised edition. All of you who feel for the Times article were duped. The book continues to get great reviews in Fortube, Forbes, Huffington Post, etc. Don't believe everything you read! The Times should be held accountable for such irresponsible journalism.

All in all, a pretty passionate and utterly factless defense. Yes, the book was well reviewed in several places, including my blog for a while. But at this point, any defense of McCarthy needs the specific facts the Times calls into question addressed in a manner more satisfactory than simply calling the Times liars.

Guess what?

That visitor to my blog came from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

Matt McCarthy is currently a resident at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

Therefore, there are only two reasonable possibilities as to the identity of this visitor:

1. It is Matt McCarthy.
2. It is a co-worker of Matt McCarthy.

I can't prove anything, but my money is on #1. I say why in my own hunch is that a co-worker would say "Hey, I know Matt McCarthy, and he's a good guy" rather than simply calling the New York Times a bunch of irresponsible liars.

I find the image of McCarthy sitting in the hospital Googling himself and his book and commenting on my little blog (just a couple dozen visits a day) pretty tragic. I imagine him staying up on a late shift by Googling his name and his book, desperately trying to get his name back through anonymous postings.

That's just the cruellest paradox. He's anonymously trying to get his name back.

Mine isn't the only blog he's stopped at. Check out this post from a ways above me on Google. See that comment way down on the bottom? It's identical to the one on my blog. He's cut-and-pasting his defense (such as it is).

Whoa! Even as I write this, he comments on a different post of mine on the same topic. Same comment, with only minor changes. And it was him again:

Wow. No way this is a co-worker. This is the man himself, trying to comment on every blog that has written negatively about him.

It's too sad to laugh at.

So I repeat my statement from the comments: Mr. McCarthy, I'd like to hear your specific defenses, and will do so with an open mind. If you're willing to go public with your journals or to disprove the Times' painstaking point-by-point dismemberment of so many of the events in your book, I'd like to hear it.

But anonymously going to every blog on the internet will NOT do much for your name.

***UPDATE: A CPMC visitor has now been here, and chose not to comment. If you're back here, welcome, Mr. McCarthy! Feel free to take me up on my offer, which remains open.

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