Sunday, September 02, 2012

When Writers Attack Other Writers

Sometimes they kind of bash each other.

From a piece on Moby Lives...

1. Mary McCarthy vs. Lillian Hellman

Back when television talk shows had writers on and actually asked them interesting questions — in January 1980, to be precise — Mary McCarthy appeared on the Dick Cavett Show and he asked her what writers she thought were overrated. McCarthy cited John Steinbeck and Pearl S. Buck, but saved her most biting remarks for Lillian Hellman, “who,” she said, “I think is tremendously overrated, a bad writer, a dishonest writer, but she really belongs to the past.” Pressed by Cavett to explain what about Hellman’s work, exactly, was overrated, McCarthy said, “Everything … every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

The wealthy Hellman promptly sued the barely-solvent McCarthy for defamation.

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