"With the assistance of his wife, he cut rectangular holes measuring six by fourteen inches in the ceilings of more than a dozen rooms. Then he covered the openings with louvred aluminum screens that looked like ventilation grilles but were actually observation vents that allowed him, while he knelt in the attic, to see his guests in the rooms below. He watched them for decades, while keeping an exhaustive written record of what he saw and heard. Never once, during all those years, was he caught."
So begins "The Voyeur's Motel," by Gay Talese. At one point:
I saw what Foos was doing, and I did the same: I got down on my knees and crawled toward the lighted louvres. Then I stretched my neck in order to see as much as I could through the vent, nearly butting heads with Foos as I did so. Finally, I saw a naked couple spread out on the bed below, engaged in oral sex. Foos and I watched for several moments, and then Foos lifted his head and gave me a thumbs-up sign. He whispered that it was the skiing couple from Chicago.And: "Foos made it clear to me from the beginning that he regarded his voyeurism as serious research, undertaken, in some vague way, for the betterment of society." And: "During the spring of 2013, thirty-three years after I had met him, Foos called me to say that he was ready to go public with his story.... How could he assume that going public with his sinister story would achieve anything positive? It could just as easily provide evidence leading to his arrest, lawsuits, and widespread public outrage. Why did he crave the notoriety?"
Despite an insistent voice in my head telling me to look away, I continued to observe, bending my head farther down for a closer view. As I did so, I failed to notice that my necktie had slipped down through the slats of the louvred screen and was dangling into the motel room within a few yards of the woman’s head. I realized my carelessness only when Foos grabbed me by the neck and, with his free hand, pulled my tie up through the slats. The couple below saw none of this: the woman’s back was to us, and the man had his eyes closed.
RELATED: "Gay Talese has a lady problem -- he can't think of any female writers that inspired him."
Talese... explained that the problem with female journalists was they were limited by their desire to stay above the fray, according to an audience member who spoke to the Washington Post. Amy Littlefield, 29, said that Talese explained "how educated women don’t want to hang out with antisocial people."A hashtag happened: #womengaytaleseshouldread.
His answer seemed to shock the audience, with one person shouting out the name of Joan Didion....