Thursday, January 12, 2006

Truth and Fiction

When I write my autobiography, entitled "How to Make a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents", it will be full of lies and fabrications, but only the ones other people have lead me to believe.

You've probably heard about James Frey's "memoir" A Million Little Pieces and how The Smoking Gun has exposed it as a bunch of fabrications and embellishments! Now even Oprah herself has had to get involved (on Larry King, no less) defending the reputation of Frey and his book. Frey himself has admitted to embellishments but says "the emotional truth still resonates" or something like that. Whatever. People liked the book when they thought it was true, but now they suddenly don't given that some of it was made up? Is truth stranger than fiction, or, in this case, is fiction more entertaining than truth? It's not a history text, after all, it's the man's "memoirs". Personally, I think he could have saved himself all this hassle by calling it "autobiographical fiction" rather than a "memoir" or that term that I kind of deplore, "creative non-fiction". And at any rate, did The Smoking Gun need to do a six week investigation into the details of a book about which any dope-fiend or frequent-flyer would like say in parts, Give me a break?

In the meantime, there is increased scrutiny as to J.T. Leroy's identity and whether "he" exists or not. As Gawker points out, however, The Village Voice has been on this case for years. So who is J.T. Leroy? Does it matter that the it-boy with a celebrity support network doesn't really exist, that in this case the "autobiographical fiction" might not be "autobiographical" at all?

All of this slipperiness has led some early supporters to wonder if they've been played. As [Mary] Gaitskill put it, "It's occurred to me that the whole thing with Jeremy [J.T.] is a hoax, but I felt that even if it turned out to be a hoax, it's a very enjoyable one. And a hoax that exposes things about people, the confusion between love and art and publicity. A hoax that would be delightful and if people are made fools of, it would be OK—in fact, it would be useful."

I liked that quote, and I agree, though I think his fanbase would likely be hurt by his non-existence. Anyway, here is J.T. Leroy's website. Note the picture on the main page.

A commenter on Dennis Cooper's blog entry where he talks about the J.T. Leroy scam says,

Do you think Laura's books would have made it to press had they not come with her elaborate story? And, would you have read her stuff and given it the same attention had she been Laura Albert instead of JT LeRoy? Yeah, that's a mean question, but I only ask it because I STILL don't know if I would have read his books had I known the truth. It makes me worry about the my own perceptions, like I can't see things for what they are.



S.D. Hollaback said...

You seem to have the magical ability to address the specific things I've been thinking about. I've been over "A Million Little Pieces" since I first heard about it, and am delighted by this recent turn of events. Anything that sets back all the supposed hipsters who get all "Darling Nicki with a Magazine" over shit, is all good with me. Also, even though I liked J.T. Leroy initially, I'm over that fucker too. Okay, we get it, you were abused and now you have brunch with Madonna,Shirley Manson and 3rd Eye Blind. Where is Andrea Peyser and her headset when you need her??

Stroll said...

Andrea Peyser and her headset are coming soon to The Butch Stroll, I just have to get a picture of her in said headset.

For the record: Ole Madge Ritchie has never brunched with J.T. Leroy or anyone claiming to be J.T. Leroy. She is *so* out of his literary league, what with the Sex book and "Lotsa De Casha"?

S.D. Hollaback said...

Actually I was basing that on a account that I read about Old Madge Ritchie and that fictional person having crumpets or something. Of course maybe I'm not remembering things correctly.

Also, I understand that it is a bit difficult to get a pic of Andrea Peyser in her headset, especially from her helicopter.

Solomon Grundy said...

First of all, three cheers for NYC gays using the Blogger pink blog template.;)

Second, at roughly the same time on Thursday we each used the same quotes from Mary Gaitskill and Dennis Cooper's commenter. Sleuthy blog readers might wonder: Are Left Behinds and The Butch Stroll pulling some kind of complicated postmodern hoax on the blogosphere, impersonating each other in an effort to boost pageviews and rub virtual shoulders with demi-celebs? Is there actually a 54-year-old granny from Finland behind the whole diabolical enterprise? I'm not telling, but as a transbloggered person under attack I reserve the right to be myself/ourselves, and I'm offended. Offended, I say.

Stroll said...

Solomon, I'm not tellin' either.