Thursday, January 26, 2006

Haw, Haw!

Told y'all:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Author James Frey confessed to Oprah Winfrey on Thursday that he made up details about every character in his memoir "A Million Little Pieces" and the talk show host apologised to her viewers, saying she felt "duped."

In 19 years in television "I've never been in this position before," said Winfrey, whose praise for Frey's book in September helped make it the top-selling book on non-fiction lists in the United States last year.

"I really feel duped," Winfrey told Frey on her television show. She said he had betrayed millions of viewers....

Asked if The Smoking Gun Web site which first questioned the book had accurately characterised the discrepancies, Frey said "I think most of what they wrote was pretty accurate," adding they did "a good job."
The most aggravating thing about this whole affair was that people who'd read the book and enjoyed it got all defensive when I told them he was full of crap. The most common response was: "Yeah, but how reliable is that website, The Smoking Gun?"

Seeing as TSG presented actual, you know, evidence for their claims, whereas Frey had none whatsoever, you'd think this would be an easy choice. But no. In our society, we've elevated opinion to be coequal with fact. Thank you, media!

I actually don't think that L'affaire Frey is that important, with two exceptions: 1) Frey is an addict who not only didn't stop lying (addict recovery step #1) but profited from publicly slamming the definition of addiction as a mental illness. Long before he was exposed as a liar, he was doing harm to the world. 2) I've run this quote before, but it's too good to only use once:
"Rehab stories provide a way for pampered trust-fund brats like Frey to claim victim status. These swine already have money, security and position and now want to corner the market in suffering and scars, the consolation prizes of the truly lost. It's a fitting literary metonymy for the Bush era: The rich have decided to steal it all, even the tears of the losers."
Pampered white boy douchebag.

1 comment:

wonderdog said...

On the other hand, personal memoir quickly crosses over into creative nonfiction, where the truth ain't really the facts anymore. Which is my convoluted way of saying that stretching the truth in this kind of thing is pretty normal.

The question isn't really whether the book is true. The question is whether it's good.