I’m really at the point of puking up last night’s dinner right now which wouldn’t be cool since I doubt hoisin sauce and Thai chili paste would be very tasty the second time around. I’ve debated whether or not to mention this or not, but it’s reached a point where you almost have to say something, even if it’s just to acknowledge the story.
The expose of J.T. Leroy seems complete now that the story has worked its way out from the literary intelligentsia onto the mainstream of CNN’s entertainment pages. Numerous sources have reported on this story culminating in yesterday’s New York Times article where Geoffrey Knoop, a 39-year-old musician admits that his estranged partner Laura Albert actually wrote the material that was published under the J.T. Leroy name.
The Times article stated “Mr. Knoop said the ruse began in 1996, when Ms. Albert sought to get in touch with Dennis Cooper, a noted gay writer of edgy fiction whose work she admired. Concerned that Mr. Cooper might not be interested in communicating with a woman in her 30’s, Ms. Albert had the idea to approach him as a troubled teenage boy nicknamed Terminator, with the biography of a street hustler.”
Yall probably know about the rest of the controversy and I don’t have the stomach to recount it right now anyway. But here’s where it gets rich. According to the CNN article, Knoop’s attorney Eric Feig said “he’s wanted to come clean and let J.T. fade away. He wanted to take the high road.” Which is bullshit that stinks worse than a Oklahoma truckstop bathroom in the summertime. Someone else in the blogosphere said this (sorry I can’t give credit because I just can’t seem to find the post now) but coming clean is what happens when you admit something before your ass gets caught. What he’s doing is fessing up, in an attempt to salvage something of his miserable cockroach soul of out this, only after the light was turned on and he had nowhere to hide.
But it gets better… New York Magazine reported that Knoop was shopping a tell-all memoir around NYC literary agents, although that claim has been denied. The New York Times piece states “Mr. Knoop has hired a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer” and the CNN report goes further to assert the exposed fraud has “secured a movie deal to tell his side of the story,” according to the attorney.
Fuck his side of the story. Why is it that every time someone gets caught in this country they assume we want to hear their side of the story? The cynic in me says “well, doofus, that’s because we, as the general public, always lap up their television appearances and rushed-to-bookstore-shelves books, that’s why.” So maybe the book buying public will prove that I’m all alone in my indignation about this. I’m just tired of people screwing everyone over and then having the audacity to demand that we pay to get screwed again.
No word yet from the accused Laura Albert. I’m sure she’ll secure a book deal or movie rights to tell her side of the story and then the half-sister who portrayed J.T. Leroy in public will have to tell her side of the story and then the trucker who was the basis for the fictional trick who picked up the lot-lizard Terminator will have to his side of the story and we’ll never get out of this mess. These people betrayed the trust and goodwill of so many well-intentioned supporters, they screwed over a well-respected literary agent and editor, and they callously traded on the currency of HIV infection and yet they assume we give a shit about their side of the story?
They made their play. Fine. It was a well-executed scam and the grifter in me will give them credit for pulling it off. I’m not naive enough to think that similar manipulations don’t occur in the publishing, film, and music industries every single day. But now they got caught so I just want them to accept their banishment and go away. No more stories, no more deals, no more hoarded bylines that would better suited to introducing new, positive voices in fiction.
The unfortunate thing is that I doubt they will take my suggested punishment. Gawker is reporting that there are rumors Knoop is writing something for Vanity Fair. I’m a sucker in many ways, but I’ll be damned if I put my money down for that magazine if such a story actually comes to fruition.