Autobiography – ghost writers and poetic license

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I enjoyed this discussion (just part way in) on a new biography on Barack Obama… The Making of the Man by David Maraniss.

Neill Miller takes an interest in Maraniss’s discussion of the untruths surrounding Obama (including those to be found in Obama’s autobiography). Apparently, David Maraniss (while he ‘obviously admires’ the guy) goes through and punctures many of the myths surrounding Obama (like the Muslim myth) – but also engages deliberately and critically with some of the myth-making that Obama surrounds himself with in his own memoir-writing. Maraniss does this in some detail and Miller found it “really interesting how, if you go through in that kind of detail, how you can kind of tear down those very important books [like Obama’s memoirs], but those books’ myths have already become accepted.”

Dreams from My Father was a real attempt to recast his cultural and racial identity. …His memoir was to build up his black credentials and to show his connection with that side of his identity.”

I love discussions like that!

The Panel with Mai Chen and Neill Miller (Part 2)

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