Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Private Lives in Public Forums

I'm not really big on airing dirty laundry in public, but since I have mentioned the "unmentionables" before (sex, politics and religion), I guess I really have nothing to hide.

Memory is a strange and mystical creature, much like the unicorn... Recently, someone asked what I thought of the armed forces. What was my take on the men and women who serve and protect our country and freedom so selflessly? My reply, as it crossed my lips, surprised us all.

"Boot camp was hell on earth, but I really found that being in the Army taught me many valuable lessons about my own self worth. It fostered confidence and showed me that French men cannot be trusted to be faithful...." It was at that moment that I realized I was talking about someone else. Namely, Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin. This seems to be happening with relative frequency and I'm not sure what to do about it. But that's not my primary concern right now.

I've just read the article in Vanity Fair regarding Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors and the lawsuit filed against him by the "family" depicted in the book. They describe the effects of reading the memoir as completely devastating. Uncontrollable vomiting, trips to the emergency room, a police officer who was described as "Poo Bear" was compelled to "quit the force" as a result of the book. These people feel violated and are suing for defamation. Page after page of these poor souls lamenting the fact that Burroughs had "ruined" their lives by writing his book. Claiming that they only wanted to help him and protect him, I am forced to think about the fact that they are going public (Burroughs had actually changed their names), and also suing for their own monetary gain. Quick! Before the statuate of limitations runs out! They made a movie and we want a piece of the million dollar pie! The James Frey thing comes to mind, but you know what? Who gives a shit. I love Augusten Burroughs and I believe the book. Many things can be verified, "Dr. Finch" lost his license to practice due to "gross misconduct." And yeah, the book is sensational... But Burroughs had hoped the family would recognize themselves. Apparently, they did. Now they just want to get paid.

I apologize for my recent inanition. I am trying to overcome myself and the tendency I have towards misremembering events in my own life. But it's like the time, just after the war, when I stood on that hillside and proclaimed: "As God as my witness. As God as my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over I'll never be hungry again nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill as God as my witness I'll never be hungry again."

Sue me.


Grieving said...

I have recently come across a similar situation in my own life. I did something stupid, then when word gets out I get mad at the asshole who spread it. Well, it's my own damn fault. Although I am not going to sue for defamation of character and milk my own mistakes and problem from someone else(there would be nothing to gain anyway) it still makes me livid the destruction and ruin it has caused in my own life.


P.S. Yes Running with Scissors was an awesome book.

Dale said...

I'd be afraid to publish a memoir for the family insanity that would pop out of everywhere telling me I was wrong. When I'm never wrong.

Did you see the film? I haven't but will on dvd.

Holly said...

I hope those assholes lose their lawsuit and are forced to live with the infamy of having revealed to the world exactly who they were after Augusten went to the trouble of trying to hide their identity.

Tumuli said...

I hope their lawsuit is dismissed, immediately. Such a precedent could help me when I write a similar memoir/tell-all.