TurboTax Timmeh Teaches DC about Autobiographical Fiction

TurboTax Timmeh Geithner’s book has been out about a week or ten days. And it seems to have had a remarkable effect: teaching DC that the memoirs from figures of power are often as not autobiographical fiction as real historical fact.

Sure, I expected debunkings by David Dayen and William Black and Josh Rosner and Yves Smith. They didn’t disappoint.

But I’m particularly happy to see this plaintive discovery from Felix Salmon, after comparing TurboTax Timmeh’s account of a speech with the actual transcript.

As I read the rest of Geithner’s book, then, I’m basically forced to treat the author as an unreliable narrator. Geithner might seem to be straight-up and guileless, but his report of this speech shows that he can remember things — even things which are easily found on the internet — in an extremely self-serving manner. Maybe that’s only to be expected, from a political memoir. But it’s disappointing, all the same.

And I’m grateful that Marketwatch has deployed the slide show click bait genre into a list of all the things TurboTax Timmeh chooses to remain silent about.

I guess I just find the acceleration of attention on TurboTax Timmeh’s self-serving fictions welcome given that I’ve never seen similar focus on the lies that get spun for National Security figures: not for John Rizzo, not for Jose Rodriguez, not for Dick Cheney, in spite of abundant public documentation that those were fictional narratives.

Perhaps TurboTax Timmeh is just a more egregious example than these others, though I doubt it. They all did great damage, and boasted while they did so.

I hope, then, that the clear debunking of TTT’s autobiographical fiction will serve as a model response the next time someone in power attempts to get rich by telling lies.

3 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    That Salmon piece is brilliant.

    What separates TTT from the others you listed is that TTT’s self-serving account is coming at the expense of Wall Street, and they don’t take kindly to that at all. By their lights, when things began falling apart in 2008/9, TTT forced them to crawl on their bellies and put up with no end of public abuse from DC while they were just trying to do God’s work (h/t Lloyd Blankfein), and now they’re returning the favor. Sez the banksters to TTT: “Do you really think that you’re going to ride quietly into the sunset? Sorry, but you’re not the Secretary of the Treasury any more, and we’re not going to smile and salute and kiss your ass any more. Whip it, perhaps; kiss it, no.”

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