Tag Archives | Truman Capote

Burroughs to Capote: You Have Placed Your Services at the Disposal of Interests Who Are Turning America Into a Police State

Letters of Note has reproduced a scathing letter from outlaw beat writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch, Junkie, The Soft Machine, etc.) to Truman Capote upon the publication of his novel In Cold Blood:

I have read the recent exchange of genialities between Mr Kenneth Tynan and yourself. I feel that he was much too lenient. Your recent appearance before a senatorial committee on which occasion you spoke in favor of continuing the present police practice of extracting confessions by denying the accused the right of consulting consul prior to making a statement also came to my attention. In effect you were speaking in approval of standard police procedure: obtaining statements through brutality and duress, whereas an intelligent police force would rely on evidence rather than enforced confessions. You further cheapened yourself by reiterating the banal argument that echoes through letters to the editor whenever the issue of capital punishment is raised: “Why all this sympathy for the murderer and none for his innocent victims?”

This is perhaps the kindest part of the letter.… Read the rest

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