Truman was a messed up dude, as far as I can tell from the depiction in the movie. He was brilliant, understood the power of media (as in McLuhan’s infamous “the medium is the message”) and apparently had no compunction in using people’s lives as fodder for a good story – to wit, In Cold Blood.
His own life wasn’t so glamorous, which isn’t an excuse for being nonchalant with others’ lives – regardless of their own choices. The most compelling line of the movie, to me, was when Capote explains the similarity between his life and the life of Perry Smith – who turns out to be the one who committed all four of the cold-blooded murders. “One day he stood up and went out the back door, while I went out the front.”
Yes, and. Truman Capote may have walked out the front door and led a life that didn’t violate the law, but that doesn’t mean his actions didn’t violate other persons. He needed Perry Smith and Dick Hickock to be guilty and die for their crime. They were, and they did… does it excuse his lack of compassion? His book was more important to him than their lives. But they were guilty – most especially Perry, to whom Capote became most close.
It has me wondering about an accusation from a “friend” some time ago – of my blogging something and them feeling “like a character”. My movie-goig compatriot tonight said sometimes what I blog is annoying, but being reduced to a character is an overstatement. What I wonder is if its possible to live a life that doesn’t violate something, sometimes?
But then, I’m still seeking forgiveness, so perhaps my pleading is itself suspect.
Truman Capote, in this representation, knew what he was doing. He knew he was on to something new, something big, something significant about media and its use. He was correct. And in the course of his ambition he made intellectual connections and he let people down. Must it always be an either/or choice?