Next to the Iranian nuclear program or Putin’s neo-Soviet expansionism, the question of whether NBC News “managing editor” Brian Williams is a self-aggrandizing liar or a mentally ill fantasist is a relatively minor matter, notwithstanding that he is the very embodiment of the strange antiquated assumptions of network news – that because a chap looks like a 1950s department-store mannequin he’s your go-to guy for economic analysis and foreign policy.
As to the subject at issue, my general view of “personal stories” (including my own) was summed up by Mel Brooks on stage a few decades back reminiscing about his life. After one especially uproarious anecdote, he said, “I swear every word is true. Well, no. The mildly funny stuff is true. The mezzo-mezzo stuff is mostly true. But the really funny stuff is entirely invented.” That formula applies to the dramatic stuff, too. As you tell a story over the years, as Brian Williams did with his RPG-hit-chopper shtick, it gets too honed, too sharp.