Posts Tagged ‘Peggy Seltzer’
Seltzer was supposed to be the spokesperson for the movement to free Jeff “Free” Luers, but she wasn’t exactly a wow. A nameless source said:
Her involvement basically consisted of manipulating people, lying, pitting people against each other, taking on more responsibility than she should have and then dropping the ball on everything completely.
There’s so much more to this story than her tawdry little memoir. Wouldn’t it be great if some investigative reporter took a look?
Peggy Seltzer/Maragaret B. Jones
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.
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.
Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer
Motoko Rich owns the Peggy Seltzer story, and don’t even think of nabbing a tiny bit of it.
Rich writes about the deep thinking that went on at Riverhead. They all knew about the author’s various names:
Ms. Seltzer told her editor and her publisher that she wanted to use the pseudonym because it was the name she was known by in the gang world and because she was trying to reconnect with her birth mother and felt that using her real name would complicate this effort.
And you know what those gangbanger book clubs are like! Publishing windfall.
Sarah McGrath was snowed by a letter of recommendation:
(She)…had provided what she said were photographs of her foster siblings, a letter from a gang leader corroborating her story and had introduced her agent, Faye Bender, to a person who claimed to be a foster sister.
Was it the Mrs. John L. Strong stationery that impressed her or the elegant turn of phrase?
Poor freelancer Mimi Read–she got stuck with the trip to Eugene and the pit-bull meet up.
Ira Silverberg, JT LeRoy’s agent, chimes in:
It is not an industry capable of checking every last detail.
Silverberg couldn’t check even one detail–the actual existence of his author.
ExPat Jane doesn’t mince her words:
You gotta have Chip or Becky struggling with the gang bangers and crack heads in the ghetto instead of whiling away in the suburbs to make it worth signing.
Yxta Maya Murray is so proud of herself for believing every single word. Oh good grief.
And NPR didn’t air Seltzer’s interview with Michel Martin on Tell Me More. And guess what–she doesn’t sound the same as she did in the Boston interview–she’s also all worried about sounding “racist”. That’s the least of her worries.
She also claims that people in Eugene, Oregon think she looks “ethnic” and approach her in the supermarket. Su-u-u-re they do.
Michael Goldstein explains why writers lie.
Kate Taylor explains why fact checking is so expensive.
GalleyCat has the publishing world covered and he’s our own lil’ homeskillet, yo.
Can’t get enough of you, baby, can’t get enough of you girl….
According to Seal Press, their author Inga Muscio was duped by Peggy Seltzer, just like everyone, or nearly everyone else. Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner (with names like those, we’re guessing they can spot WASPs) are pissed:
When we receive a proposal for a memoir, we want to be moved, we want to find something people identify with, we want more than anything else to believe that the brave and honest truth we’re publishing might inspire or at least resonate with others struggling themselves.
They must be so relieved that this isn’t their book.
According to Undercover Black Man, the now-pulled Riverhead memoir/novelization was originally titled:
Blood and Consequences: Coming of Age in an L.A. Gang
Powell’s cancelled the reading, but left up the blurb.
AP quotes the head of the imprint:
Riverhead vice president and publisher Geoffrey Kloske said that no one asked Seltzer for official paperwork such as school records, which might have discredited her story, but he noted that the author submitted letters and photographs and a recommendation from a former professor. “She even had someone claiming to be one of her former siblings. There was a substantial amount of supporting evidence,” he says.
The Eugene Register-Guard spiked a profile with Peggy when her educational background didn’t check out. (Unlike the unwary NYT.)
An NYT reader offers:
This woman is ridiculous and a disgrace. I know her personally and these lies were played out in her daily life. From recieving welfare benefits, to Native American donations from the reservation this girl lied to everyone. she used up resources under false information. Lied about her name and circumstance just to get attention. As if White women dont already have a leg up in the world. My boyfriend even gave her money for her gas bill, because we felt sorry for her.
Kevin Allman asks what so many have been thinking:
Were any actual black people involved in the publication of this book?
Say one thing for Ms. Seltzer, she’s made people stop harpying about Diablo Cody.