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Biography, Scandal Aren't Same Thing

June 06, 1993

As a trained historian, I applaud Josh Getlin's piece, "Idol Gossip" (May 18). The methodology of practicing history is far removed from the base profession of scandal mongers, and it is important that readers of the trite and opportunistic trash that is published under the guise of "serious biography" merely to make an easy buck be aware of this fact.

There is no excuse for the current popular literary ritual of crucifying public figures, alive or dead. The foibles and human weaknesses of the rich and famous are no more numerous because of their fame or fortune than the shortcomings of any average Joe or Jane.

And while we are on the subject of idol gossip, I think it is apropos to mention the numerous villains who masquerade as "professional journalists." The intrusion into the private lives of famous personalities and public figures by these so-called investigative reporters is deplorable and goes way beyond good taste or common sense.

The idea that an actor's weight or hairline is any of our business is just as preposterous as the idea that someone's love life or medical history should be fodder for headlines.

Are scholarly historians and serious journalists who work from a point of integrity a dying breed? Josh Getlin has certainly sounded a wake-up call to writers in both fields. I wonder if anybody is listening.

JANA PENDRAGON

Long Beach

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