On Dirty Laundry

May 2nd, 2006 · 4 Comments
by Booksquare

“I think it is a misuse of literature. I don’t think literature at that level should be used to settle scores. And I don’t want to be portrayed as the horrendous woman of literature.”

File Under: Quote of the Week

4 responses so far ↓

  • Karen // May 2, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Plenty of books settle scores. What’s the point of writing if you can’t? Did you ever read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, in which the narrator describes the faithless husband (aka Carl Bernstein) as someone who would fuck (sorry Ms. Square, I know how you detest bad langauage!) a venetian blind?

    In any case, Carey’s wife should be grateful. Now she can write a tell-all memoir and people might actually know who she is.

  • l.r.s // May 2, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Karen, I thought of the same book right off. But I think we can look MUUUUUUCH further back – like oh, The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer pretty much destroyed the Pardoner, and you won’t convince me that he didn’t have someone in mind when he was writing it. And don’t let’s get started on all the characters in Shakespeare that might be satires of real world folks. Ms. Summers is not the first, nor the last. Maybe learning to live with it might be a more fruitful aim.

  • Joan Kelly // May 3, 2006 at 12:31 pm

    So I do agree with the above, about how it’s not an epic tragedy for this woman, and/or is something she might even use to her benefit in some way, etc. I do have to say, as someone who was written about in a thinly veiled way in a friend’s book years ago (which I don’t think anyone ever read), I know it can feel pretty humiliating. My “character” in the book got described as a “long-winded, red-faced dwarf.” I didn’t even know this friend was mad at me! Or worse, wasn’t, but really saw me that way. Oof.

    On the ethical side of things – there is a power differential between a writer whose work gets published and a person who gets written about. There is a kind of power in the written word that lends weight, fairly or unfairly, to the writer’s side of the story. The writer has a certain access to “speech” that a non-writer doesn’t have. Or an unpublished person doesn’t have, at any rate.

    That said, I have a penchant for hearing/reading all the scandalous details of other people’s lives. I just think it’s each writer’s responsibility to consider the above issue carefully, and not just lash out on the page because he/she can.

  • Booksquare // May 3, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    Karen (whom I guiltily acknowledge owing an email!), honestly, cursing on a family blog. Sigh. I thought of Ephron as well, but sort of thougth of the movie. I’m so darn literary, huh.

    I sort of think everyone in my life is fair game, but since I tell them that, well, they can’t say they weren’t warned. It’s pretty sad when your mother is looking forward to a tell-all.