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Letter to Councilman LaBonge
Real People as Fictional Characters
Female Actors, Part Two
One Culture Hero Award
Adelante Gay Pride Gala
Best Work of Fiction?
Tom of Finland: Sexual Liberator or Enslaver
Lying Writers
Review of The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson
Promiscuous Thoughts
A Crime of the Heart
A Letter to Michael Silverblatt
"Have you no decency, sir?"
Political Incorrectness: Female Actors and Trojans
He Hugged Moms and Dads
What is a Girly Man?
Review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
From Sunset Boulevard to Mulholland Drive
The Gay Mammies
A Writer Protests
Review of Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro
A Spirit Preserved in 'Amber'
The Supreme Court Case
Review of Live from Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal
Review of Lost Years: A Memoir 1945-1951 by Christopher Isherwood
Review of Out For Good
Review of Hoyt Street: an Autobiography
Review of Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict.
Review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation
Review of Whores for Gloria
Muscles and Mascara
Review of "Blonde"
Brother Paul, Sister Jan, Brother Hinn, God and the Folks
Advice to the Next Generation
Sins of the Fathers
Beatin' Around the Bush

Cruise Not Gay! The Judge Has Spoken

The Horror, The Horror
LA--a Cliché?
Dominick, Mark & Orenthal
Holy Drag!
Ms. Hill & Mr. Tom
Mrs. guy Ritchie 
Supreme Court 
Tom Cruise 
New Times Article 

Lying Writers

The fuss about James Frey's purported "memoir" "A Million Little Pieces"--whether it is "true" or not--is astonishing primarily because it is naive to think that anything that is set down into writing--print or script--is ever, can ever, be "true." Memory is entirely unreliable; it alters "facts" daily. What seems true about oneself at age 10, when viewed from the perspective of age 20, will have changed--grown--when viewed again at age 30, 10 years of unreliable memory and interpretation having altered it.

   What is hilarious is that this matter has brought into focus the silliness of such absurd but powerful literary players as Oprah Winfrey; by her own requirements for granting her blessing on a book--surreal, surreal, surreal--she was duped. Prissy Nan Talese, Frey's publisher, determined that the book would be best presented as non-fiction, rather than, as written, a novel. Now she's caught in the awkward fuss.

   Then there's J.T. LeRoy. Is he the real author of the sad, sad books about a teenage hustler? Or did his 40-year-old mentor write for him? What is wonderful is that he took in the august New York Times that sent him to Paris to cover some kind of festival, only to discover that he--whoever he is--did not even attend. The fatuous remarks by those "taken in" add hilarity to the whole thing; Gus Van Sant says, "Who knows who he is? Am I Gus Van Sant?"

   Lordee, Lord, why not just applaud the deceptions and put them in the context--amusing, a relief, actually--of much greater lies, like George W. Bush's, lies that have sent thousands to death to support those lies.

   There are, I say, in the hierarchy of literary liars three ranks: 1. The biggest liar in the autobiographer, who dares to say this is "true" because I experienced it, although the most unreliable of all editors, memory, has already made its thousand alterations. 2. The second in the hierarchy of such liars is the biographer, who dares to claim he/she--anyone!--can ever capture another's life. (A sub-category would include historians.) 3. Third in the category of literary practitioners is the only honest one--the fiction writer, who claims, "This is a lie, but I'll do everything I can to convince you it's true."

   Unimaginable that those who deal in the greatest of all lies--newspaper editors and writers that adjust the most monstrous of events to suit editorial and political requirements--should be so aghast. That hypocrisy should be the real area of ethical exploration.

John Rechy
January 2006
Los Angeles, California

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