Thursday, February 23, 2006

Literary Criticism


In the last issue of Frontiers Magazine, the fine writer Michelle Tea gracefully criticized the scam artist known as JT Leroy. She said that his fake, queer, literary persona was a betrayal to the lesbian, gay, trans, bi community who so rooted for him and cared for him as one of our own.

I wrote a letter to the editor thanking him for including Michelle's commentary. I also added by two bits, which weren't so graceful. I called Leroy "a good-for-nothing-lying-shitfaced-sewer-rat." It was printed (with my permission) in the current issue.

After reading it, I couldn't believe I voiced my opinion in such a brutal way. Could I have said it in a more appropriate manner? Then I thought: why should I censor myself? That's how I truly felt. Then I thought: But, Noel, you want to be a kinder person this year, remember? Then I thought: Screw kindness. Call a turd a turd. Then I thought: Yeah, but lovingkindness is my goal. Regardless of how I felt, I should have engaged in compassion.

Then quickly: Let it go, Noel. Just let it go.

8 comments:

Paul said...

Dude, I so have to pick up Frontiers to save a copy of your commentary. That's great!

Rich said...

Legitimate outrage is better than a false kindness. Go with your gut.

Jason Phoon said...

hahah .... a turd is a turd.

I actually made it a goal of mine to be less kind this year :)

Joanne said...

I absolutely agree. It's better to be an honest bitch than a hypocritical liar. Carry on:)

thelastnoel said...

Thanks. I appreciate the reinforcement that I did/said the most appropriate thing.

Cheryl said...

Yeah, I always wrestle with being nice vs. taking a stand. I think the best and most honest thing to do is voice the struggle. Which you've done. Very nicely.

existential round-n-round said...

I don't know. I wouldn't be too sure it was the most appropriate thing.

(Like "The Wolf" said in Tarantino's PULP FICTION... "Let's not start suckin' each other's dicks quite yet.")

You might want to rethink what you did.

And then rethink it again.

And then be troubled by your inability to decide what to think. And then feel intense guilt. And then wake up five years from now and feel like you just got sucker punched in the gut by shame. Shame that you wasted five years feeling guilty not knowing what to think. And then you might want to rethink the possibility that all of your words are ALWAYS directed at yourself.

And then decide that that's all a bunch of shit, nothing has any meaning, and not even a turd is a turd in a town where grease is the word.

And then get drunk.

(By the way… Why did you call him “shitfaced”? Is he a drunk?)

And then... finally... once the passion has released you from its grip and the hangover has worn off... you can stop procrastinating and get back to it.

"It"... of course, being... your writing. (aka - solving the riddle of the log in your own eye)

Then again... maybe not.

Like William Hurt's character said in "The Big Chill"... "I was just tryin' to keep the conversation lively."

Anonymous said...

That "Could I have said it in a nicer way?" feeling is the Pinoy in you speaking.

I wish I could be as vocal about my comments toward other people but I guess I'm just scared of damaging relations with people.

But I'm dealing with fellow Pinoys who take things personally, so I really have to try to be nice.

I think you're in a better situation because I have this thinking that Westerners or those in more progressive countries are better in taking harsh criticism (and have no problems in giving it as well).

So don't worry about what you wrote. At all.

- Your friend in Manila 0:-)