Fabricated Identities

Hosted byIan Punnett

Fabricated Identities

About the show

With an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College and a Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, Abby Ellin is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor to the Health, Style, Business, and Education sections of the New York Times. She joined guest host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss her own personal story of being engaged to someone with a fabricated identity.

"That very first night I thought something's off with this guy... something didn't seem right," Ellin recalled about her first face-to-face meeting with the man who would become her fiancé. She described him as charming, funny, intelligent, and seemingly devoted to his children from a past marriage. According to Ellin, he would mix the truth about his work as a doctor with lies about super secret missions and treating Osama bin Laden. She compared him to the fictitious character Walter Mitty, who indulged in heroic fantastical daydreams. "I think he believed half the stuff he said," Ellin added.

She explained how intelligent and savvy people can be deceived by people who are living double lives, and how they use lies and deceit to gain the upper hand over their victims. They are narcissistic and manipulative, and one can be blind to the betrayal because they do not want to see it, Ellin revealed. She blamed technology, specifically social media, for the ease of manufacturing another life. "Social media has made it so easy to lead triple, quadruple lives," she suggested, pondering if it possible in this era to really know anybody.

Notre Dame Architecture

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been the centerpiece of Parisian identity for 850 years, and it is a testament to the principles of medieval construction that it still stands today after being engulfed by flames on Monday, April 15, 2019. In the first hour, Dr. Frank Albo talked about this marvel of engineering and the significance of its architecture. Notre Dame is a Gothic cathedral which means its architectural style is interwoven with the Catholic canon, he explained, noting how abstract meanings can be derived from the simple forms used in the building. "The whole of the cathedral is like an encyclopedia of world sacred knowledge, in particular the entire biblical story," he said. According to Albo, everything from the stained glass to the flying buttresses to the dimensions of the nave are "endowed with profound mystical rationality."

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