Saturday, January 28, 2006

In the Middle of the Dream

In May I am going to lead a discussion on Political Correctness and Right Speech with my Women’s Circle. I am looking forward to a lively, insightful and illuminating discussion as the women in my group are amazingly thoughtful and intelligent.

In this morning’s column by Maureen Dowd I found the following paragraph.

“Ballantine announced it would no longer ship two memoirs by Nasdijj, supposedly an inspiring Native American writer from the Southwest who said that as a child, he was "hungry, raped, beaten, whipped, and forced at every opportunity to work in the fields." The L.A. Weekly learned that Nasdijj was really Timothy Barrus, a white middle-class man from Michigan who had written gay porn.”

The original story is found here in this wonderful article in the L.A. Weekly with a follow-up developing in the blogosphere today.

The truth is that I have been extremely frustrated at times in the way that the publishing system for poetry here in the States functions and have myself bitterly said something along the lines of… if only I could play the “ethnic card”.

So, I do understand the impulse here.

Still, I find the whole story horrifying.

The obsessive desire for recognition, the excessive appetite of an audience that drives the market for more and more shocking memoir and the fascination (and guilt) about cultures that got here long before us… all the factors that go into making this unfolding drama raise fascinating questions about us as writers and us as readers.

I look forward to thinking about this all in depth in the months to come.


Blogger Dale said...

I'm in the midst of starting a discussion group on "women, gender, and the Dharma" at my center. A discussion about it has just begun on our mailing list & I've been a little dismayed; I had been assuming we were all more or less on the same page -- get the tradition transplanted intact, and we'll deal with the sexism later -- but as it turns out the sexism of the tradition isn't even apparent to a lot of people. So I'm backpedalling hard, trying to figure out where to start. Are there any books you'd recommend?

11:59 AM  

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