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Personas from Long Ago

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In LA Weekly’s lengthy and detailed article about Laura Albert and the J.T. Leroy hoax, Nancy Rommelmann reveals that Albert was making up cover stories and personas decades ago. And she also explains how the Leroy persona was the perfect creation for the times.

“During the cultural relativism of the ’90s, if you wanted to sell your books and be an underground star, you could not do better than the JT confection,” Rommelmann writes. “Support from those who’d fought the ’80s culture wars? Check. Solidarity with, or at least acknowledgment from, the queer and transgender communities? Check. Drugs and sex were expected. Child prostitution might have been a dicier sell, but not if the author experienced it, a well-peddled feature of JT’s life. Perhaps best of all, JT was a victim, and victimhood in the ’90s meant sales, as long as you’d triumphed over the neglect and abuse and depravity. JT had, through his writing. And the more attention we gave him, the greater his triumph. He was perfect.”