I am a very bad man
I just can't fail to quote & link Violet's amazing post about her early life and why this JT Leroy cultural spazattack is not about a pseudonym, or gender identity, or a clever hoax, or any of that shit.
I hate to give any more ink (ok...pixels) to a hoax that will assuredly only result in vast amounts of fame and bazillion-dollar movie deals for its perpetrators. But Violet of all people has earned the right to bitch about it, so here goes:
Reading LeRoy's book brought so much back for me that I didn't see why I should re-live it. I'm okay now; it took me years before I could even tell anyone about my life prior to the age of 20. But I do remember one thing very clearly right now. On the streets we had a word for people like so-called LeRoy. It was "poser."
Susie Bright up next, in a stirring moment from her blog post on JTL:
I’m embarrassed to tell you all the nutty things I did. Every time he was mean, or screwed up, I always told myself to stay steady and kind. Why did I make the effort? I’m no saint. But from listening to him, I believed the childhood he described surviving would have killed anyone else.
I know Susie, I adore Susie, and I respect her. She's been a big influence on me, and she's brave to fess up. Which is why I have something I need to say to everyone who's ever covered for anyone in the community who was a fuckwad whether because of drugs, liquor or just plain being an asshole (it is causing me physical pain not to mention names here, but I won't). This goes out to everyone, myself included, who has uttered meaningless platitudes about the elephant in the living room and what a nice shade of gray it is while said elephant lays a fat stinking turd in your lap.
When we as professionals make such judgements -- "That person's childhood would have killed anyone else," "This person can act badly, it's OK because his Dad slapped him around," "Oh, he couldn't help himself," "She didn't mean it," "That's just the way she is," we do a great disservice to the other people who ALSO survived, and didn't ask for any favors. We make a decision about whose childhood was REALLY bad -- and fuck everyone else. It is not even a hair's breadth from "This person was abused, so just smile and nod when they go ballistic" to "That person abused me, but it was my fault."
Want to know a secret? Of course you don't, but I'll tell you anyway. I've spent way too much of my life covering for drunks, drug fiends, liars, opportunists and losers, and I understand how humiliating it can be when you discover they used the living fuck out of you and put you away wet. When someone else gets used and I don't, I find that getting to say "I told you so" is about the least satisfying thing I have ever experienced. I am so hot and bothered about what Susie went through because I have done that shit myself, a million times it sometimes feels like, and it hurts me to remember.
So, for the record: Fuck off, JT or whoever you are or aren't. Just fuck the fuck off.