Sunday, May 13, 2012


It's taken nearly 6 years, but my life is finally starting to parallel Gossip Girl. To those of you uninitiated in the ways of the Greatest Show of Our Time - fear not! You don't need to be a fan to understand this post.

The setup: Earlier this season, Dan (Penn Badgley, with his stupidest hair since John Tucker Must Die) published his first novel. Titled "Inside", it was essentially a tell-all novel about his life on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and also all of his friends. Names were changed slightly; everyone saw right through it; drama ensued. Just another Monday on The CW, right?

Strangely enough, gang - not anymore. Someone I know has written a book. I should explain right up front that I'm not the star (I'm not even a main character), nor am I the only one of my friends to find themselves disrespectfully immortalized in print. For all intents and purposes, I got off easy. Does that make it okay? I'm here to tell you that in this instance, it's not. Allow me to elaborate, based on a couple of things you may or may not be thinking:

"But Joe, you Aren't you thrilled to be in a book?"

I'm so glad you asked! The real problem here isn't that I'm in a novel, but rather the unflattering light in which the author portrays just about every character who isn't the autobiographical protagonist. Had I done something - anything! - to deserve being described as five feet tall, with the sunken eyes of Gomez Addams, I would tend to my bruised ego and accept my fate. But since the author was a friend, I can't help but feel slighted. Sadly, I come across as a Disney Prince compared to some of my other friends. It's on account of solidarity that I find myself so disgusted. Do you frequently call your close friends fat or stupid? Do you make baseless implications about relationships and personal history you couldn't hope to understand? If so, I don't have a place for you in my life. Sorry.

"Don't be such a bitch. You should be supporting your friend and fellow writer."

I've known about the existence of this book for a while now, and it has taken a lot of contemplation and soul-searching to get to the point where I can actually discuss it publicly. It's not that I'm cartoonishly cruel and wish to tear down other people's work. After all, how many books have I published? Self, electronically, or otherwise - that would be zero. This blog is my creative outlet, and I'm okay with that. Have I ever thought of writing fiction based on my own experiences and the people in my life? Of course. Never so I could take cheap shots at them, however.

While we're on the subject of fiction/non-fiction: It's baffling to me why someone would go to the trouble of creating a wholly inaccurate physical description of someone, yet still make it painfully obvious as to their identity. Granted, anyone outside my circle of friends (a circle, within a circle, within a circle) wouldn't know that any of these characters are based on real people. But if you and I are even just acquaintances, you would figure out upon seeing specific mention of my former employer that it's me. I'll reiterate that I'm a supporting player, at best. There are far more objectionable "characters" in this book, but out of respect for these actual people I won't get into those dirty details here. Suffice it to say, I'm far more offended by the big picture than I am with the dossier I got saddled with.

I haven't given you the title of the book or the name of the author, so there's a good chance that about 4 of you might be really confused. Believe it or not, I'm not trying to stand in the way of the author's dreams. I'm not going to actively campaign against this novel. So what's the point of all of this, then? For everything currently being said, someone needs to let the author know that NO, this isn't okay. Your friends never asked to be a part of your megalomaniacal agenda. You've insulted other people's art time and again, and now you've gotten us mixed up in yours.

The Gossip Girl gang had the benefit of Dan's book becoming a runaway success and loved by the masses, so narcissism eventually smoothed all those relationships over. That won't be how things play out here. For years we offered support and encouragement, and what we've been shown in return is how little regard the author has for us - his friends. Next time, write what you know. Not who you presume to know.


LOLO said...

Cheers to staying classy.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read this - the associations are embarrassingly obvious. And offensive. Why didn't he pull his friends aside and tell them he borrowed some personality traits?

Anonymous said...

You'll always be classy to me, my friend. Far more so than the writer in question, who once insulted me and my hometown only to crash at my apartment because my roommate took pity on him.