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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Sayre’

Margaret Jones /Peggy Seltzer’s Childhood on the Reservation/Professor Duped


Gordon Sayre, the professor at U of Oregon who taught Peggy Seltzer, semi-defends the practice of false memoir writing:

If Peggy’s assertion that she had spent part of her childhood on the Quinault reservation was untrue, if the paper she had written about this experience was based on false premises, at least it was backed up by enough research to be convincing.

There’s a moral assertion–lying is okay, provided you’re good at it. Or else, a professor of Native American literature knows little or nothing about the lives of actual Native Americans.

He then segues into gassing on about the “real scandal” of young men in South Central, a subject on which he is no doubt, equally well-informed. This guy couldn’t find his ass with both hands. Betcha Peggy got an A.

Tallulah Bankhead rounds up the book blurbs.

Daniel Mendelsohn explains why all this matters: stolen suffering, via Nancy Rommelmann’s expansion on same.

Alas, no movie deal was in place before the news of the fakery broke, and unless the whole backstory is part of the package, there’s not likely to be one.

Undercover Black Man has an excerpt from Inga Muscio’s book which references Seltzer:

My friend has post-traumatic stress disorder, which is frequently exacerbated by the need, just about every weekend of her adult life, to attend funerals of friends shot down in gang warfare.

Those gang funerals! They just eat up the weekends.

Steve Huff points out that at least one of Seltzer’s MySpace pals shares her email address–and thus, probably DNA. (That MySpace page has been modified –check the PDF.)

Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer

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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