Wednesday, January 11, 2006

and more. plus, i'm freaking angry.

ok, linkfest, i know, but really you should read ayelet waldman's article on salon, I was conned by JT Leroy. usually i'm not a huge fan, but her take on it is interesting. the following is partly what i was trying to get at in the debate BoyCat and i had last night:

The larger the morality of courting people's sympathies, including mine, by exploiting the issues of AIDS, homelessness, teenage castaways and transgenderism. Wasn't Albert and Knoop's assumption of these victim identities in order to achieve fame and fortune immoral, even evil? Doesn't it belittle the experience of everyone who has really suffered as they only pretended to?

Her own response to these hypothetical questions is interesting, as well.

Yes, of course. And yet somehow I'm not as troubled by this particular thing. It probably did little harm, except to the egos of those of us who were fooled, and it probably did some good, if the books themselves found an audience among the very people JT was pretending to be. I'm much more troubled by James Frey's actions in perpetrating a similar fraud. I view him as far more venal, more absurdly self-aggrandizing, and dangerous. Because Frey actually tried to convince people that his "recovery" could inspire them in a specific way. If they acted as he did, if they followed his lead, they too could be saved. JT Leroy's creators presented a model of redemption, not a prescription for it.

this seems pretty perceptive to me. however, i have trouble agreeing with the conclusion that "it probably did some good, if the books themselves found an audience among the very people JT was pretending to be." i think maybe it did, right up until the moment that Leroy was revealed to be a fraud. the implication of that revelation, at least as i see it, is that what the fraud says to those "very people" is your existence is not important, so much so that i can just make it up as i go along. i can claim your voice as my own, and make money off of it, and fuck all what you care about it. your life is just fodder for my mill, and by extent, everyone's mill. it's entertainment.


what i'm angry about is actually unrelated to literary scandal. it's jeans, and Oprah.

firstly - why on earth can i not find a pair of jeans that fit me? i know this is a common tale of woe, but seriously people, i cannot find a pair of jeans that i could wear out of the house. i eternally damn to hell the forces that inflicted "ultra low rise" upon society. i would really love to be able to purchase a pair of jeans that don't make me eligible for Indecent Exposure charges when i sit down in public. the low rise problem is compounded by the fact that i have a really small waist but pretty sizable hips (curse you, MomCat, curse you!). apparently, no one else in the world is shaped like this, and if they are, they are apparently not allowed to wear jeans. today at the GAP i literally tried on a dozen pairs of jeans, six different cuts in two sizes each. nothing. nothing even close to wearable. i am getting ready to walk into some high-end michigan avenue store, supplicate myself, and beg for a pair of jeans that fit, whatever the cost. this, of course, would be unadvisable, but i am almost, almost there.

secondly - why on earth does everyone in the world think that Oprah should be the solution to all of nonprofitland's problems? and by problems, i mean fundraising needs. i get this all the time, from people involved with the agency from the outside, from people involved with the agency from closer to the inside, even from people in the foundation world who should know better! "what about Oprah? maybe she could help." "how about Oprah's foundation, you're based in chicago." "oh, maybe Oprah?" ok, here's the deal. Oprah does not run around chicago tossing bags of money into the street! Oprah does not ride down the street in a sleigh slinging presents into worthwhile non-profits! you cannot just call up Oprah, tell her you need some money, and get a check the next day! Oprah IS NOT AN OPTION, so stop trying to put us off of asking you for money by suggesting i peek into Oprah's piggy bank! i already have, and it ain't happening! so shut up about it already!!

phew. i feel better.


dorothy rothschild said...

Do Levi's stores still sell those custom-fit jeans? I think they cost about $150 bucks, but they actually measure your body and then the jeans are made to fit?

Mike said...

I think when you finally find some jeans that fit, you should buy like 100 pairs of them, so you'll never run out.
Maybe Oprah can give you some money to fund that purchase. ;-)

Kate said...

uh oh, maybe what you need isn't oprah, but dr. phil! eek!

just kidding.

good rant, and i've enjoyed reading all your thoughts on these two con-authors.

kate.d. said...

dottie, you are a genius. my co-worker also suggested the levi's store, and i'm going to try to go this weekend.

right after i return those jeans i bought at express in the vain hope that "low rise" wasn't as bad as "ultra low rise."

Toast said...

For the life of me, I do not understand the low-rise jean thing. They can make a legitimately Great Ass look positively dumpy. They can give an anorexic girl love handles. Seriously, WTF?

Duke DeLove said...

All biographies are fiction, as are all autobiographies. Action committed to words become inaction. In five minutes I can tell someone I typed this paragragh, but that doesn't make it true: It makes it a pile of words, a claim, and accusation. There is no truth behind it but pixels and bits. With Frey, words on paper. The only truth is experience. All else is lies.

Anonymous said...

Get a pair of Levi 501s that fit your hips and have someone take them in at the waist.