Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Uh, see what had happened was...

That's me channeling the voice of Margaret Seltzer explaining to her editor why she fabricated her memoir, Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival. The book details Seltzer's upbringing as a foster child in a Black family, and her eventual employment as a drug mule by the South Central Bloods . In reality, Seltzer grew up in Sherman Oaks and wrote her tome in a Starbucks in South Central. I know everybody is going to be wagging their fingers at the Penguin editors who should have "known better." But, after reading this piece in the Times, I'm going to pile on.

1. Seltzer said her foster mother's name was Big Mom. Big Mom. BIG MOM. Little White girl-Big Black Woman. Didn't anybody notice the racial stereotype? Why not just call her Big Mama? Or take a risk, how about Big Mammy? Even if it was true, somebody should have stepped in and told that woman that her life was a tired ass trope. The sad part is that looking at that book cover makes me think the trope is exactly what they were going for.

2. Speaking in a previous interview with the Times, Seltzer said, “one of the first things I did once I started making drug money was to buy a burial plot.” That should have been a red flag right there. Come on now. She said she started making drug deliveries at thirteen and the first thing she bought was a burial plot? What kind of nonsense is that? The first thing she would have bought: an iPod. Second thing: a family pack of Skittles.

3. Why did she feel the need to say she was half-Native American? I guess being half-Black would have been too ambitious, and being half Native was just tragic enough to be believable.

4. Quote: “For whatever reason, I was really torn and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to,” Ms. Seltzer said. “I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk. Maybe it’s an ego thing — I don’t know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.” Yeeeah.


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