Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Literary Fraud?

An imaginary “scandal” by Theodore Dalrymple: "If it were true that the balkanization of literature was justified by the supposition that only people who belonged to a certain category of people could truly understand, write about, interpret, and sympathize with the experiences of people in that same category, so that, for example, only women could write about women for women, and only blacks about blacks for blacks (the very careers of many academics now depending upon such a supposition), how was it possible that a Church of England vicar had been able, actually without much difficulty, to persuade a feminist publishing house that he wrote as a woman, and as a Muslim woman of Indian subcontinental origin at that?"


He had already sent his stories about working-class boys to the BBC under another pseudonym, Tom Dale, while he sent the ones about the Muslim girls as Rahila Khan. The BBC had treated the two writers quite differently: kind and considerate to Rahila, brusque and even rude to Tom. He learned his lesson.

Pam Miller clued me in to this long but interesting article about what happened when a feminist press accepted a book of stories by a white male who was writing under a female pen name. PC run wild? Or something even worse? Check it out.

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