Margaret Jones /Peggy Seltzer’s Childhood on the Reservation/Professor Duped


Gordon Sayre, the professor at U of Oregon who taught Peggy Seltzer, semi-defends the practice of false memoir writing:

If Peggy’s assertion that she had spent part of her childhood on the Quinault reservation was untrue, if the paper she had written about this experience was based on false premises, at least it was backed up by enough research to be convincing.

There’s a moral assertion–lying is okay, provided you’re good at it. Or else, a professor of Native American literature knows little or nothing about the lives of actual Native Americans.

He then segues into gassing on about the “real scandal” of young men in South Central, a subject on which he is no doubt, equally well-informed. This guy couldn’t find his ass with both hands. Betcha Peggy got an A.

Tallulah Bankhead rounds up the book blurbs.

Daniel Mendelsohn explains why all this matters: stolen suffering, via Nancy Rommelmann’s expansion on same.

Alas, no movie deal was in place before the news of the fakery broke, and unless the whole backstory is part of the package, there’s not likely to be one.

Undercover Black Man has an excerpt from Inga Muscio’s book which references Seltzer:

My friend has post-traumatic stress disorder, which is frequently exacerbated by the need, just about every weekend of her adult life, to attend funerals of friends shot down in gang warfare.

Those gang funerals! They just eat up the weekends.

Steve Huff points out that at least one of Seltzer’s MySpace pals shares her email address–and thus, probably DNA. (That MySpace page has been modified –check the PDF.)

Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer