November 2, 2018

Hoaxing Yourself

People who tell a lie and then believe the lie more than anyone else. 

An updated version of an episode from 2000.


Sean Cole explains why he decided that he would speak with a British accent—morning, noon and night—from the age of fourteen until he was sixteen, and how he believed the lie that he was British must be true. (3 minutes)

Act One

The Sun Never Sets—On The Moosewood Restaurant

The story of two young people who, in their search to figure out who they were, pretended to be people they weren't. Both were from small towns; both took on false identities. For two years in high school, producer Sean Cole spoke with a British accent. As a freshman in college, Joel Lovell told lies about his own diet and about his parents. Joel is the executive editor of the podcast company Pineapple Street Media. (15 minutes)

Act Two

Conning The Con Men

The story of a con man, one of the most successful salesmen in a long-running multimillion-dollar telemarketing scam, who finally got caught when he was conned himself. Producer Nancy Updike talks about the case with Dale Sekovich, Federal Trade Commission investigator. (16 minutes)

Act Three

Oedipus Hex

Shalom Auslander reads his true story, "The Blessing Bee." It's about the time when, as a third-grader at an Orthodox Jewish school, Shalom saw his chance to both make his mom proud, and push his drunken father out of the picture. Part of his scheme involved winning the school's bee on the complicated Hebrew blessings you say before eating certain foods. The other part of the scheme: Sinning.  This story is included in Shalom's memoir Foreskin's Lament. His most recent book is Mother for Dinner. (19 minutes)