“Authenticity” Trumps All

Autobiography is a genre which is immune from common etiquette and morality, much like the soil of a foreign embassy is immune from the host country’s laws.  This gives the writer the room he needs to accomplish the highest moral end, which is to disgorge his thoughts and feelings.  This special indulgence is important to the artiste, because normally he is thwarted by the vulgarians.

Now , seriously, if you speak up at dinner with strangers, saying that your dear father’s public reputation was founded on hypocrisy, a painful silence ensues as everyone realizes they’re about to spend the evening with a schmuck.  But let him say the exact same thing in print to 5 million strangers instead of 5, and for money, and what was boorish at dinner becomes art on the page.   So the tinkling of the bell — the autobiographical bell — transubstantiates gossip into heroism.

This is an episode of ashcan authenticity, which decrees that account of the facts most likely to puncture all apparent sanctity is the preferred account, since we know sanctification is a scam.   If someone should ever have the audacity to say “no, he was actually the same at home as he was in the public eye” that person is clearly deluded or lying.


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