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Posts Tagged ‘Faye Bender’

Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer: Inga Muscio Speaks


Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer has been living la vida fake for the last 10 years, according to one-time pal, author Inga Muscio who got the bad news from her agent Faye Bender. She writes:

The weekend before last, Faye called me. She said, “Inga, I need you to sit down.” This is when I found out that Peggy’s entire life for the past decade is a lie. This elaborately constructed life/lie was in place long, long before Peggy ever gave me her writing. As far as I know, her daughter and baby-daddy also believe this life/lie. Everyone who has met her for the past ten years knows her to be the person she describes in the book.

Allegedly Seltzer spun the tale of being a member of the Quinault tribe, via her “bio-dad” and got checks. Hmmm–fraud investigation brewing? We sure hope so. The Quinault number about 2500 on their tribal rolls.

Muscio also writes that Seltzer’s editor, Sarah McGrath, took the James Frey incident to heart:

Peggy and I spoke frequently throughout the three years she was working on the book. Not long after the James Frey scandal busted out, she calls me all pissed off. Sarah was “grilling” her about the veracity of her book and Peggy was absolutely indignant.

Muscio answers some more questions from Vanessa Juarez at EW.

Oh, and do read David Mills’ comment on her blog–she’d better send him those stickers.

Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer

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Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer: Foundation a Fake, But What About Her Tattoo?


Kevin Allman points out that the NYT decides that checking the facts is a good idea:

If we can’t find ways to check key facts, names, graduation claims, etc., we should hold the story until we can verify them, and if we can’t, we should be suspicious. Live and learn…

Ah, remember the good old days?

Radar has Steve Huff’s major scoop: the HomeGirl Hosejob AOL journal:

im jus a gurl…a simple one at that. i was a soldier once, but i think i am semi-retired now. dont doubt that i am doing my work still, only what that work is has changed and as someone told me once, “u are not a soldier unless u are in a war”. these days im enjoyin my peace, fillin my head an hopin an pushin toward big things.

Edukation. im not talkin that white washed BS, but truth. we all need to fill our heads with something other than what is shoved at us and oviousally not workin. we need to start understandin the struggle that we are left in and how it has evolved so we understand what we do and why.

And of course, the MySpace page. (You didn’t think she was on Facebook, did you?) Seltzer describes herself:

I am a mother, an aunty, a godmother, a participant in the gang truce process, a loyal friend to those within my circle, someone’s future wife;)and one of the best cooks you could ever meet

Is the cookbook thing dead then? Is that why Mimi Read got the NYT assignment–she knows neckbones?

Agent Faye Bender helped Seltzer set up some phony foundation. Our agent doesn’t even take our calls.

Susan Salter Reynolds feels sorry for Seltzer. The LAT has gotten two columns and an editorial out of this, but why we have’t we heard from Erin Aubrey Kaplan? If there was ever a time for some black outrage, this is it, folks.

And here’s a local question–how did a nice girl from Sherman Oaks meet MaddRonald Chatman? And wow! Inga Muscio thanks him as well. Unless of course, she means Ronald Chatman, headmaster of the St. Timothy’s Episcopal Day School in Compton. Are there a lot of Episcopalians in the Rollin 20s?

Robert Pho is considered the master of the pitbull tattoo.

Mo’ Margaret B., Mo’ Peggy Seltzer. Mo Fiction


More Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer info:

Gawker has some of her author interview, now vanished from Penguin’s site, but found here:

At one point I was showing my agent around my old neighborhood. We were shooting a video for the book. She said it was so much nicer than she thought it was going to be and that people were so friendly. We went to a local park and this couple walked up to us. I could see the camera crew suddenly got nervous. In my head I’m thinking, what do you think is going to happen? But then the couple was nice and all I could do was smile.

Faye Bender, the agent, ducked the LA Times questions. So where’s the video?

Tom Ashbrook’s On Point on WBUR interviewed her last Friday. He called the book “smart, tender and honest”. Oh dear.

Her accent is sort of homegirl meets Southern-fried meets totally fake. She disses Boyz n the Hood, too. Not authentic enough.

NY Times readers want to know about that weeping pit bull tat and point out that the intersection of “Crenshaw and Stockyard” doesn’t exist.

Ira Socol points out that the NYT is google-impaired.

Margaret Soltan has a great line about the editor’s innocence:

In the book, she describes her foster mother, Big Mom, an African-American woman who raised four grandchildren and a foster brother, Terrell, who was gunned down by Crips right outside her foster mother’s home.

Big Mom. What name would have been enough to raise suspicion on the part of her editor? Aunt Jemima?

But let’s look on the bright side–at least she didn’t rap.


Gangbanger Margaret B. Jones is Really Peggy Seltzer, Valley Girl

Gangbanger Margaret B. Jones is Really Peggy Seltzer, Valley Girl

Margaret B. Jones = big lying liar. Not a foster kid, didn’t grow up in South Central, didn’t deliver drugs, didn’t even graduate from U of Oregon. Oh the humanity. But she once met some gang types.

She’s really Campbell Hall grad Peggy Seltzer. Campbell Hall is the Olson Twins’ alma mater. And her sister ratted her out:

Ms. Seltzer’s story started unraveling last Thursday after she was profiled in the House & Home section of The New York Times. The article appeared alongside a photograph of Ms. Seltzer and her 8-year-old daughter, Rya. Ms. Seltzer’s older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw the article and called Riverhead to tell editors that Ms. Seltzer’s story was untrue.

Peggy Seltzer is thanked in the forward of Inga Muscio’s Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society:

Peggy Seltzer, my platonic soulmate. I thank you for inviting me into your heart, for giving me books and music and laughter when I didn’t feel like there were any words or songs or happiness.

Her website lists the book as forthcoming No Child Left Behind: A South Sentral Story by Peggy Seltzer.

Muscio was introduced to Seltzer through a professor, and then set her up with her literary agent, Faye Bender, who got the book accepted by Sarah McGrath, then at Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster. When McGrath (whose father was editor of the New York Times Book Review) moved to Riverhead, the book and author went with her. (Yes, Riverhead was James Frey’s publisher. So, they’re stupid trusting.)

All this begs the question–who knew that the book was fiction and when did they know it? Did it not look salable as fiction and was repackaged as a memoir?

Riverhead/Penguin’s recalling the book.

And Peggy Seltzer–could be a different one–is also thanked in another book by an Oregon prof, Gordon Sayre in The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh:

and Peggy Seltzer of the Quinault nation alerted me to the annual ride of the Sioux and inspired my teaching of Native American literature at Oregon.

What a busy girl.

Margaret B. Jones: South Central Memoirist