Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sad Albert

I hate fakes.

I hate literary fakes.

I particularly hate pretentious wierd-ass literary fakes.

And "J.T. Leroy" topped those charts.

Laura Albert, the fraud who penned books as J.T. Leroy, whined and bawled in a NYC court room today as she was sued by film producers who gullibly bought the film rights to one of her fraudulent books, "Sarah."

I never liked J.T. Leroy's books. It smelled like a lie to me, long before s/he was outed definitively by Stephen Beachy in this New York Magazine article.

In fact, other authors like Dennis Cooper and Kevin Killian read
passages of "Leroy"'s books at literary events. What did they know? (See Killian's comments, and David Ehrenstein's re: Cooper).

Who knew? I don't care. I could smell the lies a mile off. Celebrities like Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson and U2's Bono are said to have been fans of the fake books.

Now, Albert has been caught. The books are fiction, and bad fiction at that. Stealing the life of abused kids and passing it off as memoir is a literary crime.

As an author who's never received a hundredth of the enormous advances doled out by gullible publishers to fakes like Albert, it's easy to be resentful, and see why quality fiction so rarely gets published. Editors seem to prefer hype and sensation over quality.

For example, if I'd fraudulently penned my first novel, PINS as written by "Joey Nicci," a fifteen-year-old gay high school wrestler, maybe I'd be getting awards and fame and adoration by easily fooled celebrities.

But I haven't, because I didn't, and I won't, because I'm not a fraud like Laura Albert is.

And yet, the literary snobs seem to still be scooping up the dung doled out by Albert, as shown here in a lengthy Q&A in The Paris Review.

"One thing people often comment to me about the characters in JT LeRoy’s books is that they strive for goodness, even in a world where all their experience contradicts this," Albert is quoted.

Yeah, you strove for goodness, in the form of fat advance and royalty checks, while real authors get shafted.

"I never saw it as a hoax," she says.

Oh, really? Calling up writers as you pretend to be "JT Leroy" and getting them to read for you at bookstores; not a hoax?

Making shifty deals with publishers to have them write checks made out to you, when there was no JT Leroy; not a hoax?

Dressing up your gender-blurry pals as "JT Leroy" for public appearances; not a hoax?

You might want to take off those google-eyed sunglasses and get a reality check, instead of another fraud's royalty check.

I hope she gets sued back into the poverty from which she sprang. Karma's a bitch, Laura.


DavidEhrenstein said...

Dennis was NOT in on the scam, Jim. He smelled a rat when "j.t." requested the cover of
one of Dennis' books, ( a pic of his beloved George Miles) for use on one of "his" books. Then "j.t. claimed to others that the pic of George Miles was of him. That ripped it. You cannot imagine how much Dennis loathes this bitch.

Winona Ryder was definitely in on the scam, and Asia Argento is suspect as well.

Gus Van Sant, however, was taken in.

Rather ingenious. On their own the writings are nothing. But seens as the product of a teenage hustler (later a teenage hustler with AIDS, and then a transgendered teenage hustler with AIDS) they're something else.

And her bleating on the witness stand -- yikes!

She's the Eve Harrington of cyberspace.

Kevin Killian said...

"Kevin Killian may or may not have been in on the scam. I don't care. I could smell the lies a mile off."

Hi Jim, what's your motivation for implicating me in the JT LeRoy scandal? Or should I ask, what is your evidence? Why are you throwing my name around so freely, what's up with that?

In the wake of David Ehrenstein's intervention, you've withdrawn your allegations against Dennis, so the fact that they remain against me makes the case for my guilt even stronger. That's how I read it, that's why I'm writing you and asking you about this.

Jim Provenzano said...

Gee, Kevin, sorry if you feel put upon.

When I asked you years ago if you knew if JT Leroy was a fake, you didn't answer clearly.

Weren't you one of several authors "befriended" by "JT Leroy," and didn't you do a reading for "him" at Books Inc. in San Francisco several years ago?

I'd just like to know if you ever met Leroy aka Albert. I think a lot of people are curious.

Could you clarify your relationship with Laura Albert, if any?

I'd be happy to post a correction.

Jim Provenzano said...

Oh, here's an SF Chronicle article from 2000 about Kevin and other authors reading "Leroy's" works.

I think that's why I was "throwing" your name around, Kevin.

When you join in reading and promoting a fraud, people wonder. Well, not many people, but I do.

Of course, the Chronicle's Neva Chovin should be critiqued for being one of many journalists who fell for the Leroy bullshit hook, line and sinker.

Kevin Killian said...

From Kevin Killian (Google and Blogger won't let me on again)

No, I've never met Laura Albert, though I talked once or twice on the phone with her (I now realize), under the impression that it was JT Leroy I was speaking with.

A charity I am involved with used to have an annual auction and we would try to get writers to donate manuscript pages from their work so we could auction them off at an annual event. I wrote to JT Leroy, who agreed to participate. That was in the summer of 2002. Leroy's office sent a nice little archive of material and we auctioned it off. Wonder who has it now?

The original bookstore event was in May 2000, the month of SARAH's publication. Yes, I agreed to promote the work of a fellow author, but so did a lot of people. I was at that reading, and I read a passage from SARAH. I would have done it for you if you had presented yourself as too shy to read from PINS or any other of your books.

Do these things that I did condemn me in your mind, Jim? I don't remember evading you years ago when you asked if I knew that JT Leroy was a fake, but I probably wasn't sure. Until Stephen started making all the connections, how could anybody be sure? "Leroy" had that psychiatrist, Terrence Owens, who did come to the reading I participated in and in the face of his testimony, or witness, it seemed that whoever was actually writing the books, there was indeed an actual JT, a former prostitute or whatever. Did you know in 2000 that this was a hoax? When did you know, and more importantly, can you prove it?

As for feeling put upon, I guess I do, you're right, at least in a certain way but I'm glad you pursued this and have allowed me to respond with my memories of what happened. I don't want to stop giving to people I don't know in the event that they may not turn out to be who they seem.

Jim Provenzano said...

Thanks for your reply, Kevin.

No, I didn't mean to sound accusative, just perplexed.

Who knew? Who didn't?

That's what's interesting, and Stephen Beachy's NY Mag article (linked in the post), got a lot of info.

I'm not attempting to redo his work. This is just a snippy blog post, having my little serving of Shaudenfrade at Laura Albert's expense.

I didn't know, other than getting a sense that something was odd about it all, and other than my instinct, I didn't know facts.

I truly respect you and your writing. I just remembered you being part of that event.

I'm just still befuddled as to how so many smart people ended up believing Ms. Albert's tales.