WSJ hit on Menchu

Tom Lehman TLEHMAN at
Mon Dec 28 21:09:45 PST 1998

Dear Chuck,

I think your on to somthing here---maybe Tom Kruse will weigh in on this one.

Possibly a surreal discription is more accurate than any one real discription taken by itself because of the horror of the situation. This is a feeling I have gotten after conversations with Latin Americans about Latin America. I'm not talking about chewing the fat with any of my pals here either, who are mostly like Charlie Chan's #1 son.

Your email pal, Tom L.

Charles Miller wrote:

> Anyone know whether Menchu intended her book as a piece of imaginative
> anthropology, much in the style and genre of Carlos Castaneda? There is
> obviously much precedence for rendering fictional accounts from research
> and ethnographic data (look at Clifford Geertz's work on the role of
> writing and the thematics used by anthropologists in _staging_ their
> data). Melville's _Moby Dick_ was sold as a piece of non-fiction, if my
> memory serves me right.
> I know there are those who denigrate this blurring of fact/fiction, but
> I think it has some validity within the context of literature. Of
> course, one needs to also to ask _how much_ of her book is true. Is it
> only the _autobiographical_ elements that are fictional? What about the
> background of violence, poverty, and genocide she writes about? That is
> unquestioned, is it not? I think Orwell's remark about art and
> propaganda could go a long way in this context.
> chuck miller
> > The latest hit on Rigoberta Menchu comes from that notorious bastion of
> > truth-telling, the Wall Street Journal editorial page. This screed's
> > ingenious innovation: her "lies" might provide a pretext for violence!
> > Anyone know who this Schwartz character is, and what the source of his
> > expertise on "the Hispanic world" is?
> >
> > Doug
> >

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