Yesterday’s Definition of Libel is Today’s “Duel of Stories”

Laura Miller: “The ”Opening Skinner’s Box’ controversy looks like a quarrel about facts, but it’s really a duel of stories. Slater’s subjects are saying, in part, ‘How dare you presume to tell the story of us? Now we’re going to tell the story of you!”’

For more on the subject, check out Ron’s Lauren Slater archives, which include comments from Slater herself.


  1. Miller basically gives her a pass–what a copout. As for Slater, everybody thinks their Truman Capote. At least Amy Bloom had the good sense to call her fiction fiction and to leave her patients and subjects out of it. Did you read Lying? Slater’s a gifted stylist, but I wouldn’t lend her money or leave her alone with my kids.

  2. The biggest problem with the piece, I thought, is that Miller didn’t offer any real evidence that Slater had gone “off the rails” in the last month–nearly every aspect of Slater’s behavior she describes is related to the actual writing of Opening Skinner’s Box, not to the reaction to the reaction to it. Most notably missing, yes, Slater’s online appearance on Beatrice.

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