Monday, July 23, 2012

Derf on NPR's 'To the Best of Our Knowledge'

Here's my interview with NPR's Steve Paulson. Good interview, although they cut out all the (I thought) interesting bits about process and how I put various scenes of the book together, in favor of the usual discussion about what I saw and what I think. This show is based in Madison, WI, and is the only interview I have granted to Wisconsin media. Paulson, in fact, told me he was living in Milwaukee when Dahmer's crimes were revealed. But this is NPR, not some AM-radio clown, and Steve had read the book (you'd be surprised how many interviewers had not before talking to me!) and his questions were perceptive and measured.

Note some of the comments on the podcast page. I like the one that cites Buddha! What else would you expect from NPR? Another comment, however, is a criticism that has become virtually cliche,  that I am somehow "complicit" in Dahmer's crimes because, as a 15-year-old kid, I encouraged Jeff to act up in school and didn't rat him out to school authorities when his behavior became troubling and bizarre. It's obvious this critic has not read the book, and has no intention of doing so, since I address both these points at length in my story. He closes with the hackneyed argument that I should "donate any profits to help the victims." Were similar demands made to Art Spiegelman to compensate Holocaust victims after writing Maus? Or any author who has written about 9/11? The comparison to Spiegelman is particularly apt. It was his story to tell, just as My Friend Dahmer is mine. We were both part of our stories. These things happened to us.

If you object, feel free to ignore the book. But don't dare preach to me that I had no right to pen it.

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