Is it rude to write about other people? It is not.
Or I should say, it depends what you write.
Slander is rude. Libel is rude. These are both more or less the same thing, I think, and they are both more than rude. You don’t need an expose on Russian hackers to tell you that.
But really, lots of writers borrow generously from their real lives to create total fiction, not to mention memoir, essays, and other non-fiction bits of goodness. So, how do you feel about this as a reader? Imagine. What if someone in your family wrote a memoir. You’d very likely be at the very least mentioned. Whether or not the facts were presented fairly, whether or not you were presented as you imagine yourself to be… these are all up to the author to decide. We all have our own perspectives on events, on other people, and ourselves. It’s only natural that these perspectives color our writing, just as much as they color our speaking, our listening, and our interactions. Of course, since memoir is generally based on a person’s memories (no kidding), it’s rare that every single recorded detail happened exactly as the text presents it. Sometimes this is simply the author’s best estimation, and sometimes it’s done with the idea of rosying up the color of the glass through which the event is best viewed. Meaning, making it better. Making the people (usually the author’s own self or character in particular) smarter or funnier. We all do this all the time. There’s nothing necessarily malicious about it. Remember the last time you told someone a story that took place when they weren’t around? (If you’re telling people stories that took place when they were there, come on. Get it together. Either tell your audience to work on their memory, if they really don’t recall, or stop telling people what they already know!) When recounting things that happened, we have a tendency to polish up exactly what was said, especially. Nobody wants to tell a story like this:
“So, I was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on.’ and he was like ‘What? Are you talking to me? Oh. Not much.’ so then I was like ‘Maybe let’s go did you want to go to I mean if you want we could go to the s-s-s-store.’ and he was like ‘Whatever. I’ve got I have some homework and I need to, you know, like, do it. Before I go to, uh, basketball.’
Yep. That’s probably exactly what happened. But it’s a terrible story. And it’s poorly told. That is, it’s probably accurately told, but the language used is weak. This is what happens when we, as speakers, are left to our own devices. Am I suggesting that we read from scripts rather than interacting naturally with each other? I mean.
ME: I had something really interesting happen to me today.
YOU: Oh, yeah? Do tell.
ME: I’d be delighted to regale you with this anecdote.
YOU: Please proceed posthaste!
ME: First, I encountered a gentleman of an age…
YOU: Of what age was the gentleman, pray tell?
ME: Why, he was the gentleman’s age, of course!
YOU: Merry, and you are well met today!
ME: To wit, methinks I have partaken in much coffee of the morning!
Yeah, that took a gradual but definite Shakespearean turn. You might have been saying the whole time “I sonnet coming!”
No? Well. Forsooth.