Sunday, June 24, 2007

Can't We All Just Tell the Truth?

Just when I thought we were done with the whole sell-a-bad-novel-as-a-true-story thing (ala A Million Little Pieces), another autobiographical tome that wasn't quite what it said it was is back in the news. It had already been established that J.T. Leroy, author of Sarah, the autobiographical story of an underage male prostitute, doesn't exist. The real author, a woman of legal age named Laura Albert, had sold the rights to a film company, and when the truth came out the film company sued. A jury found in favor of the film company on June 22.

You can find the full details at any news site. What I'm interested in here is not so much who told which lies for how much, or whether the author believes the non-existent Leroy exists, but how the reading public responds. I expect the sales of J.T. Leroy books to climb, just like the sales of A Million Little Pieces did after it was revealed that its author had scammed Oprah.

Maybe she'll be a guest on Oprah's show and explain the whole thing. Whether or not that happens, the gullible American public will doubtless be buying her books in the usual knee spasmodic response to national publicity.

Hey, media types: as long as you're guiding the public around by its nose, how about publicizing some worthwhile books? There are lots of those with scandals attached ... but who needs scandals when you have a good read?

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