Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Talk About 'Mad Men'

That 88-year-old bigot accused of killing a guard at the Holocaust Museum, James W. von Brunn, has claimed to be a Navy lieutenant during World War II and a former ad man. Can't be right, huh? Just a lot of bloviating by a guy who had a life full of failures, perhaps?

Well, the New York Times reported on June 1, 1950, in its society column, the marriage of Patricia Beverly-Giddings to James Wenneker Von Brunn, "an alumnus of Washington University [who] served with the Navy as a lieutenant in the war and is with the advertising firm of Benton & Bowles Inc. in New York."

I haven't seen this in any of the news reports, including the Times's, though I imagine that somebody will be checking the clips on this tonight.

I can only imagine what's happened to this guy's cranium over the past 59 years. Or maybe he was twisted back then. Who knows?

It's just like a former ad man to figure out a way of getting maximum publicity for an evil deed. I have to hand it to him.

UPDATE: Evidently nobody at the Times bothered to check the electronic archive, as no reference to his 1950 wedding announcement appears in its surprisingly sparse story today. Newsday picked it up, I see. Edward Tenner says at the Atlantic website that I seem to have scooped the Times on this minor but interesting biographical detail.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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