“She seems to be very, very naïve,” Ms. McGrath said. “There was a way to do this book honestly and have it be just as compelling.”(quoted in the closing line of this article in the book section of The New York Times.) The irony to which Ms. McGrath is oblivious derives from her calling Margaret Seltzer "naïve", when McGrath is herself the editor taken in by the author (under the nom de fraud Margaret B. Jones) of a faux-memoir titled "Love and Consequences" which is now exposed as bogus.
Seltzer's claim to be a half white, half Native American who grew up in foster homes in south central Los Angeles has blown up in her face, and her face bits have landed all over the faces of various people involved in the publication and publicizing of her book. McGrath was Seltzer's editor for three years and never tumbled to the fakery. Her company, part of the Penguin Group, even posted on its website an interview with Seltzer-as-Jones (excerpted here) which, even to me with my limited acquaintance with the denizens of the south central area of the city, betrays a tone that is unmistakably not from there, but utterly white, suburban, and middle class, however sprinkled with gang-esque jargon it may be. As one commenter on the Gawker post said, "It's Vanilla Ice all over again!" How did these supposedly worldly literati not suspect anything?
Also apparently taken in by Seltzer, much earlier, was a noted cunt, without whose support the faker would probably never have been able to foist herself upon even a thick-witted publishing world. She even used some of Seltzers tales in one of her own books. This would make Inga la Gringa (if she in fact met Seltzer face-to-pasty-face) an even dumber dupe than McGrath. Or maybe she, too, is a bit of a fraud? Maybe she knew Seltzer was passing off fiction as memoir, and overreached in helping her get published? Could Muscio become collateral damage in Seltzer's fall from literary grace? Oh, wait. I don't care. If she were Courtney Love I might care. I still sort of like Courtney Love.
But I must acknowledge that The New York Times has thus far been straightforward about its reviewer and its interviewer having been taken in. They have also published to their website the opening chapter of Seltzer's book— perhaps in the hope that readers will find it as convincing as The Times' staffers did, and thus be persuaded that the paper's part in the whole fiasco was understandable. If this is their hope, I don't know how others will react, but my response must be "LOL Times! Pwned!"