Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Joyce Carol Oates's New Yorker story upsets some

This one sits waiting to be read on my reading table.

Criticism for Joyce Carol Oates
A New Jersey college has called Joyce Carol Oates insensitive, saying that her latest short story, published in the Oct. 9 issue of The New Yorker, resembles the true story of John A. Fiocco Jr., a 19-year-old freshman at the College of New Jersey whose body was found in a landfill in April. Her story, "Landfill," is the tale of a Michigan State University student, Hector Campos Jr., who is forced down a trash chute in a fraternity house and later found dead in a landfill.

"Insensitive?" Using real-world stories for fiction is far from unusual, and I suppose I understand how it might upset some to read a story about a death that resembles a real-life incident, but it is fiction and what requirement is there for a writer to be "sensitive?"

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