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View Full Version : Running With Scissors case settled.



Sakamonda
08-31-2007, 04:52 AM
Well, the Running With Scissors defamation case has been settled. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I don't think authors should have to cave to golddigging extortionists who don't like what authors write, and feel that settling the case the way Burroughs did sets a bad precedent for all memoirists. On the other hand, the outcome might have been worse had the case gone to court. Thoughts?

Little Red Barn
08-31-2007, 05:17 AM
I'm sure Augusten received wise counsel and did what he thought was best.

benbradley
08-31-2007, 05:29 AM
My thought is that I'd like to see a news link to the story...

johnrobison
08-31-2007, 05:32 AM
With the settlement of the suit, my brother offers this statement:

"I still maintain that the book is an entirely accurate memoir, and that it was not fictionalized or sensationalized in any way. I did not embellish or invent elements. ... The book is still called a memoir. ... Not one word of the actual memoir itself has been changed or altered in any way."

You can read more here:
http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2007/08/30/settlement_reached_in_scissors_suit/

And here . .

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/books/08/30/runningwithscissors.ap/index.html

Sakamonda
08-31-2007, 05:38 AM
I think the best thing to come out of this---if something good can come out of it---is the high-profile press coverage for the author and the book and for memoirs themselves. Burroughs has been portrayed positively in the coverage of the legal case (as he should be) and that is very good. If anything, it will attract more readers to the memoir genre.

johnrobison
08-31-2007, 05:59 AM
People can say what they like . . . I'll bet the movie everyone panned and the press over the lawsuit . . . it probably sold a million books.

I too hope it has a generally beneficial result for memoir writers.

Little Red Barn
08-31-2007, 06:04 AM
People can say what they like . . . I'll bet the movie everyone panned and the press over the lawsuit . . . it probably sold a million books.

I too hope it has a generally beneficial result for memoir writers.

Aye.

Susan B
08-31-2007, 10:40 AM
I also have mixed feelings, though I'm sure Augusten Burroughs had good counsel and did what was best.

Here's a link to a Jan 2007 article in Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/fame/features/2007/01/burroughs200701?currentPage=1

I think it's useful to debate the issue of how much "embellishing" and use of "composite characters" is acceptable in memoir. It's the old "slippery slope" problem--and a tricky one.

But one thing is very clear: the bare-bones facts about this psychiatrist, Dr. Turcotte, are very disturbing. Note that he lost his license to practice because of violating professional boundaries with patients. (For details, you can read this article.) His behavior was clearly unethical and illegal. It reflects poorly on everyone who works in mental health. (I'm a psychologist.)

Even if some argue that Burroughs embellished certain aspects of his story for dramatic effect, the simple facts are damning enough. I hope the "settlement" with the family doesn't serve to minimize how damaging the behavior of this psychiatrist was to many people.

Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now!

Susan

pollykahl
08-31-2007, 05:39 PM
"Even if some argue that Burroughs embellished certain aspects of his story for dramatic effect, the simple facts are damning enough."
There's a memorial site about the doctor and personally, I think it makes him sound just as loony as the book said he was. I'm a therapist too and can't imagine referring anyone to him.
http://www.rhturcottemd.com/

When I read the article in January my thought was that it didn't refute or disprove anything Burroughs said. It looked to me like the family just attracted more negative attention to themselves. I hope everyone is as happy with the settlement as the articles say they are and now it can be put to rest. It seems like it's been painful for everyone concerned.

Jongfan
08-31-2007, 06:03 PM
IMHO, Augusten has shown once again that he has much class and is a peaceful person.
His statement released in the Boston Herald states " It was never the intention to cause pain to the families involved."

After enduring what is depicted in his book, I find his settling out of court to show he is sincere.

Susan B
08-31-2007, 06:16 PM
Yes, I agree with jonfan and pollykahl.

I hope this settlement does bring more positive attention to the book, the author--and memoir in general. But my fear is that it could also make publishers even more cautious in taking on memoir--and not just about "truth and accuracy." There's also the problem of privacy issues in writing about other people, even in disguised form, and even in a truthful way. (It's important to note that this family was never identified by name. But Dr. Turcotte was so notorious in his community that anonymity at the local level was impossible.)

Susan

Sakamonda
08-31-2007, 07:48 PM
I sympathize with Burroughs most of all because like his mother was by Dr. Turcotte, my own mother was also victimized by a nutcase psychiatrist who also eventually lost his medical license for his improper treatment of patients. That's the biggest reason I admire RWS as a memoir; not just for its amazing storytelling and craft, but for its unflinching exposure of the potential harms of unethical psychiatry. We need more books like RWS, not less.

jennifer75
08-31-2007, 07:50 PM
Thoughts?

Change names/locations.

Jongfan
08-31-2007, 07:55 PM
Change names/locations.


The names were changed... The doctor is a well known in his community and it was easy to piece together.

Augusten did an amazing job, opening himself up for many things while providing an inside look of his life.