Friday, June 20, 2014

The Monsters Among Us

From Stacy McCain, news that one of the "teen fiction" authors I read in junior high school was apparently a monster: ‘The First Time She Molested Me, I Was Three. The Last Time, I Was Twelve’
Moira Greyland is the daughter of famed novelist Marion Zimmer Bradley, who died in 1999. Greyland’s father — Bradley’s second husband, Walter Breen — was accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy in 1989, ten years after he separated from Bradley, who wasaccused of covering up her for husband’s pedophile activities. Bradley’s own tendencies toward lesbianism have been noted, but now Moira Greyland has claimed that she was molested by her mother:
The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away. I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa [Waters, Bradley's personal secretary and reputed lesbian lover], and they just moved him into his own apartment. I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family ‘home.’ None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.
Paul St. John Mackintosh discusses the case at TeleRead. Greyland was born in the mid-1960s and, if her parents were part of an “out of control” scene that included drugs and orgies in the 1970s, this would have made them part of the radical counterculture. And what do we know about the content of Bradley’s fiction?
An undercurrent of feminism runs throughout the Darkover series. Bradley frequently examines sex roles and the limitations they place on the individual. . . . Critics have praised Bradley’s ability to incorporate feminist and utopian ideals into the harsh realism of Darkover without diminishing the credibility of the characters or their society.
Bradley’s feminist interests are also evident in . . . The Mists of Avalon (1982). This novel, which retells the Arthurian legend from the viewpoint of the women involved, has received considerable critical attention.
Furthermore, we know that Bradley wrote lesbian pulp fiction under pseudonyms, including I Am a Lesbian (as Lee Chapman, 1962) and The Strange Women (as Miriam Gardner, 1967). . .
Back in junior high, it was my habit to check a book out of the library, read it surreptitiously all day in class (well, maybe it was surreptitious) and return it by the end of the day.  I recall running through a fair number of the Darkover novels, in addition to the Heinlein classics.  I remember the Heinlein books, and have essentially zero memory of the Darkover books, except a general feeling that they didn't hang together very well.

Which, of course, says nothing about Bradley as a person, except that her works were not of great impact on a introverted male teenager.

It is to be expected that some of the literary elite will throw off of the bonds of morality in their existential search for meaning.  In fact, you can expect it in some fraction of the population as a whole, although I expect the proportion is greater in the literary and artsy-fartsy community.

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