To the editor:
I found the recent Associated Press story in The Salem News about Scott Brown's refusal to cooperate with investigators for his alleged victimization at the hands of a pedophile disturbing.
"For each person it's different as to what they want to do, and I'm not looking backward," Brown stated, adding, according to the story, that he's received an outpouring of support from other abuse survivors.
That's not surprising. But aside from not cooperating with investigators, it's interesting that he refuses to name his abuser, and says he has no idea if the person is alive or dead.
If in fact the incident did occur when Brown was a young boy, it's quite likely that he was far from the only victim. I'm not at all going out on a limb here when I say that any psychologist will tell you that it would be unusual in the extreme for any child abuser to single out one child and never repeat the pattern.
Granted it's been 42 years and that would mean his abuser would be in his late 50s or early 60s — not what anybody would call the breath of springtime, but probably not dead either. This fellow could very well still be out there continuing this pattern of abuse, couldn't he?
It makes no sense for Brown to stay mum given the above-mentioned possibility; unless, of course, the attack never actually occurred.
I have a unique perspective on this memoir thing. There is an off-the-charts financial incentive to promote memoirs on national television. Here's a little background:
Twelve odd years ago I decided I was going to become a writer and get myself on the New York Times Best-Seller List. There was just this one little problem: Other than business correspondence, promotional materials and letters to friends and family, I had never written anything in my life. I started attending writers' workshops all over the country, hooked up with freelance editors to both critique my work and educate me, and wrote my brains out.
I figured it would take me a year, maybe two, to be picked up by a publisher. It took me more than 11 years just to get an agent, and almost another year to finally get my seven offers of publication.
It's mystery detective in genre. They're beach books — no big message, just pure entertainment. They're billing me as the next Robert B. Parker.
I had thought that with these offers the publishers would also fund a national book tour. Nope, they simply put the books on the shelf and hope for the best.
I rejected these offers and am going independent just as Stephen King did back in the 1970s, thus more than tripling my royalty. I brought in investors selling a piece of future royalties to fund the tour and am currently wrapping that up. I've hooked up with both promoters and PR people.
Here's why I'm going into all this: Since I came in completely out of the blue, my PR people asked me about my background. It's a very colorful one. They asked me to put together a true-to-life chronicle of events with the idea, if it made sense, of writing a memoir. I followed their direction and they immediately got back to me saying what I had was ice cream for the talk-show circuit.
You see there are certain hot-button topics that come up on these shows again and again. One of them is my diagnosis at the age of 60 with ADD/ADHD. That's a big talk-show topic.
Thirty-seven odd years ago I was a male single parent with three kids in diapers. There were bad-guy corporate types trying to force me out because, given my domestic situation, they felt I could never perform up to speed and on and on and on, a real-life soap opera.
From what my people are telling me, I fully expect to be on the talk-show circuit myself. And there's insane money to be made for any author featured on Oprah or, for that matter, any of the bargain-basement Oprah shows.
The standard royalty for any author is from 12 to 15 percent of the book's retail price. Typical sales for works promoted on the shows are in the 5 million range, with a retail price of around $26.99 each. You do the math: For authors who make it on the circuit, the golden years are just that.
Of course, one of the biggest hot buttons of all involves child abuse. In fact, given the revelations regarding the Catholic Church, it may well be the granddaddy of them all.
We've heard all about Scott Brown's memoir, "Against All Odds," for quite some time now, but up until about a half-hour ago had never heard a word about his alleged abuse. Brown has already appeared on "60 Minutes," and unless I miss my guess, that's just the beginning of his advertising campaign.
Now I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not accusing Brown of fabricating the incident to hype the sales of his work. I have no real evidence for or against. But what I am saying is, dear editor and dear reader, is if in fact this incident actually did occur, for the protection of our children and grandchildren, does not our senator have a sacred obligation to cooperate fully with the investigators? He is, after all, a public servant — in his case, a very public servant.
He is not in a position to talk about "not looking back." He's an adult now and out of danger. But our children and grandchildren are not.
I ask you, how would you feel if you read in the paper that the monster who allegedly abused young Scott 42 years ago was still up to his old tricks? How would you feel if his next victim was your son or grandson?
(Editor's note: Jim Brown reports that, using the pseudonym "James Phoenix," he will be releasing the first book in a planned "Jim Buckley & Ax" detective series this summer. A national tour to promote the book will begin in late August and his memoir, "Twisted," is scheduled for publication eight months later.)