I am amused by the unwillingness of journalists and pundits to say that the fake sign language guy at Nelson Mandela's memorial service was, well, a fraud. Thus, the New York Times headline reads: "The interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial, who is accused by sign-language experts of being a fake." (Later, the phrase "by sign-language experts" was removed, so the headline only said that the man was accused of faking it.) Hey, the Times isn't saying he's a fraud. Those experts (or some unnamed party) accused him of that! So what if his signals looked nothing like the gestures of an actual interpreter of the event on television, and so what if his simple-minded, repetitive motions couldn't possibly have expressed the complexity of what was being said. We're not going to put ourselves on the line by saying he didn't really know sign language. Maybe the Times and other news outlets and pundits are afraid the guy will sue them -- after all, he may say he's a lawyer, and how would they know if he was a real one or not?
You might think that a guy displaying a complete ignorance of signing while signing during the most viewed event of the year would be quickly uncovered and ushered off the stage (if not into prison). Not a chance! And he had done the same thing before on a national stage. As I have said in these blogs, bullies and bullshitters always prevail because people are simply too timid, unsure of themselves, and afraid of offending anyone to ever call someone out no matter how outrageous or preposterous their claims are. And the more outrageous and preposterous, the greater their chances of success! Look at Donald Trump, Bernie Madoff, or those sport heroes who claim they're being interviewed for Rhodes Scholarships! But here, despite the billions of dollars we spend on national security, this guy, with no possible credentials, stood as the closest person to the President of the United States and many other international figures. Go figure!