Wednesday, October 05, 2005

NYT & LAT lapse

This is my first posting so hope it goes well. I wanted our obit friends to note the extraordinary lapse of the NY Times and LA Times -- and probably others -- in the recent obits on Scott Peck, author of the self-help best-seller The Road Less Traveled. It was a great story because while he was dishing out all this advice about how to conduct one's life, he was a singular failure at his own (with the exception of writing best-sellers).
My lead in the Guardian was: "As the pioneer author of self-help best-sellers, psychiatrist M Scott Peck, who has died aged 69, made millions with his first book by advocating self-discipline, restraint, and responsibility -- all qualities he openly acknowledged were notably lacking in himself." The point is that Peck talked and wrote often about his addictions to cheap gin and marijuana, and his constant infidelities. He was also estranged for a time from two of his children.
Yet the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times made not a single mention of these shortcomings! Even although Peck had openly discussed them time and again. What is this -- gratuitious self-censorship? Or is there a better explanation? Unfortunaly no NYT obiturarist belongs to the association (or didn't when I last checked). But perhaps Myrna Oliver of the LAT can help here.
Note that Adam Bernstein in his lead did mention Peck's failure to follow his own advice. So if that was good enough for readers of the Washington Post, why not the folks in NYC and LA?
Regards Chris Reed.


Amy said...

I very much enjoyed all three of the M. Scott Peck obits I read: NY Sun, Telegraph and Independent, all of which I saw posted on alt.obituaries. They were all three amusing, entertaining and educational.
Now I'll go dig out my copy of "Road Less Travelled" and reread it with an enlightened mind.

McKie said...

hello christopher; hope you're well. I don't think I was too kind ("self-deluding, gin-sodden, chain-smoking neurotic"). one of his fans has written to me asking if peck's ex-wife wrote it (she didn't, I did). I liked yours.

best aye