January 27, 2006

Prances with Wolves

As a fake scholar, fake artist, and fake Indian, I always though the story of Ward Churchill would be hard to beat.

Timothy P. "Nasdijj" Barrus, an Opie-looking wannabe Navajo who killed off two imaginary children on his way to a national magazine award that he parlayed into three nonfiction books about people who never existed, before he got into writing gay porn while living as the father of a suburban white kid while at some point faking involvement as a soldier in the Vietnam war, takes the cake:

After the Esquire piece, Nasdijj published "The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams" in 2000, followed by "The Boy and His Dog Are Sleeping" -- which won a PEN award -- and "Geronimo's Bones." He wrote that he was the son of an alcoholic Navajo mother and a white cowboy father who raped and beat him. He said he grew up in migrant labor camps.

His former brother-in-law, Stephen Cheetham of Lansing, said Barrus had no such life. Cheetham said he hadn't seen Barrus since the 1970s, but over the years his two children told him what they heard of Barrus from their mother.

"I had heard that he was writing stories under different names," Cheetham said Thursday. "Something about how he claimed to be a Vietnam veteran at one point, claimed to be a Native American Indian at another point.

"His parents were a very middle-class, working, typical American family. He was never involved in Vietnam, he was never a Native American Indian, his parents weren't Native Americans -- there wasn't anything like that in his past."

It gets weirder:

In the 1980s, Barrus gained attention in some gay circles as a writer of pornography; other gay writers didn't think his work sounded authentic.

"I had some serious doubts about how gay he ever was," said Lars Eighner, a writer of gay literature who had mainstream success with his books. "It's a house of mirrors when you deal with him."

Barrus' third novel was about gay soldiers in Vietnam, but taken as a fictionalized memoir. Eighner said his gay literary friends didn't believe Barrus was ever in Vietnam.

I think he called that book Victor Charlie In My Chocolate Factory.

In a shocking related story, militant gay liberal activist John Aravosis of Americablog was discovered to be none other than David Hasselhoff.

Rusty is having fun with this story as well.

Update: Read Navahoax in the LA Weekly which broke this story and also has a link to "Nasdijj's" blog.

And Phin's got a song...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 27, 2006 06:26 PM | TrackBack

I was thrilled when Rush mention the Raleigh News and Observer on his show today, and how they broke this story. Nice to see the N&O do a good job on this.

Posted by: William Teach at January 27, 2006 07:12 PM
I think he called that book Victor Charlie In My Chocolate Factory.
That's priceless! Posted by: lawhawk at January 27, 2006 08:57 PM

The story was broken by the L.A. Weekly several days ago, in an 8,000-word investigation. The N&O story is a follow. you can see the original story, "Navahoax," as well as Nasdijj's blog postings, at

Posted by: tom at January 27, 2006 11:33 PM

I was born on the island Mannahatta, and my tribe moved to Quinnecticut, which in Mohegan means "Tidal river in the land of Casinos". I will part my long hair in the middle, dye it black, go to Hollyweird and sell my script about love between gay cowboys and indians!

Posted by: Tom TB at January 28, 2006 07:28 AM

"Prances with Wolves." Heh. You've got a brilliant future ahead of you, CY.

Posted by: greg at January 28, 2006 11:36 AM

Next he'll be writing a book about his story of being a Gay Confederate Yankee or did he do that already?

Posted by: Sweets at February 10, 2006 04:10 PM


It's been done.

But I'm sure he was just "prison gay..."

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 10, 2006 04:17 PM