Thursday, March 27, 2008

Repost - GalleyCat: Peggy Seltzer: Fourteen Minutes and Counting

Well, the discussion still goes on about Love and Consequences. I've stopped talking about it just because I haven't read any new perspectives. However, when I trip over them, I'll keep you up on the new commentaries on it.

Peggy Seltzer: Fourteen Minutes and Counting

margaret-jones-fakememoir.jpgThe op-ed section of Eugene, Oregon's Register-Guard squeezes a few more inches of copy out of the scandal surrounding their local literary fraudster, Peggy Seltzer, with one more op-ed about Love and Consequences. Veteran journalist John Hurst takes a couple whacks at the handful of university professors who, in his characterization, "have been circling their academic wagons around her... with spirited public defenses of Seltzer’s moral right to lie." In addition to Gordon Sayre, who defended Sayre's lies as valid self-expression, there's been the but-it-was-so-beautifully-written defense and the at-least-it-wasn't-boring defense... all of which leads Hurst to suggest facetiously that maybe journalists should embrace a more freewheeling attitude towards the truth.

Meanwhile, at The Nation, Chris Lehmann catches up to the debate, echoing my comments during the first few days after "Margaret B. Jones" was exposed as a fraud that Seltzer delivered exactly what the industry wanted: "Here was a wrenching narrative of personal triumph over adversity," he summarizes, "pitching a tough but sentimental ingenue against the lurid doings of a cruel, dangerous world." Then there's the usual stuff about James Frey and Holocaust hoaxers, before Lehmann sinks his teeth into a really sharp analysis of just how heavily Seltzer's narrative played the victim card, and how "actively offensive" the portrait of inner-city society she crafted to resonate with liberal guilt fantasies really is.

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