Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Back to Basics

A forthcoming article in Vanity Fair allegedly documents the fabrications of Augesten Burroughs in Running With Scissors.

When the James Frey book was exposed as largely fictitious, I took the unpopular position of "who cares?" Lots of people called for the guy's head on a platter. Even if Frey is a jerk in real life, the outrage was completely misplaced. Frey slandered no one. He told some stories about himself that were fiction. In order to enrich those stories, he invented some characters that others found interesting.

The woman who became JT Leroy went one better, she not only invented the stories and all the characters they contained, she invented the persona of JT Leroy. Again, no harm, no foul.

Burroughs, on the other hand, took elements of his real life, and real people from his real life, and then told alleged lies about their criminal negligence as his guardians. Will someone explain to me why he gets a pass and Frey gets villified? Because I really don't understand.

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