Monday, October 30, 2006

The Diarist

I was reading Vanity Fair the other day and saw them refer to Dominick Dunne as a "diarist."

My first thought was "Diarist? That's not a job..."

But I guess in his case it is. For those of you who do not know his work, he's mostly famous for writing slightly fictionalized crime books wherein the rich and famous are accused of murder. He was a producer in Hollywood a long time ago (The Panic in Needle Park and other films), and I guess began writing these books after his Hollywood life had dried up and then something terrible happened to his daughter. The accused, someone who had money and influence, went free.

When I first read his books (in my early 20s), I thought his tales came from a place of outrage, with a dash of justice-seeking. But as I read more, I started to get the sense that he's just an average guy, in love with the idea of celebrity, money and power. My guess is that he likes the crime angle because it casts him in an unassailable morally advantageous position. Having perhaps been rejected by those he may have considered his betters in his first go-round, he now delights in having the ear of the likes of Nancy Reagan during high-profile murder trials. He loves chronicling the fall of others. And he's not alone. Many of his books have been adapted into successful TV movies.

Nowadays he keeps a public diary in the pages of Vanity Fair, detailing celebrity in and out of the courtroom. He really loves to drop names.

He is also the father of the legitimately talented Griffin Dunne, the actor and writer.

Dunne's motives and such aside, diarist is still not a job title one hears often. And it occurred to me that keeping a blog is much the same as keeping a public diary. So I guess if I made my living off of this site that I, too, could call myself a diarist.

But I suspect everyone else would still call me a blogger.

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