Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, January 27, 2006

Oprah's Frey Flaying

Yesterday,I turned on the Oprah show with James Frey,thinking that it was going
to be the Larry King Interview,part II. The show started with a clip recap of the
Million Little Pieces scandal ending with Oprah's phone call during the Larry King
appearance. The first words out of Oprah's mouth were"I'm sorry I made that phone

My jaw joined the millions of others that had dropped as Oprah apologized for being
blinded by her admiration for the book and that everyone who called her out for this
whole Frey mess was right on the money. Then,she held a real interview with James Frey
(who clearly had no clue that Oprah was going after him with a truth stick)and didn't
let up him when he kept trying to fumble his way thru the BS line he's used to feeding
others with-"I don't know what you mean by that..."and calling him out for referring to the people in his book as "characters". Novels have characters,James,memoirs have
real people-I think a college graduate should know atleast that.

When Oprah got him to admit that some of the Lily stuff was made up and the studio
audience gasped,I understood how they(and Oprah felt). As a reader,you get caught up
in a book sometimes that it's like you're living thru the very experiences that are
being written about. When you read a memoir,it's even harder to pull yourself out
of that written world because it's something you know has really happened to the
author and the people he/she's reliving these moments for you to see.

When I read Angela's Ashes,for example,there's a section when Frank McCourt tells
about a very long hospital stay where he was alone most of the time. I have an uncle
who had a similar experience as a boy so it made that book much more real to me. Not
saying that you need some sort of personal touchstone to connect with any form of art
but if it had been proven that McCourt had made alot of the book up,I would've felt
conned and angry at him just as Oprah felt duped that she cared so much about Lily
and now has doubts that she even existed.

Nan Talese was also there and basically gave the party line(Miss Snark can get into
that much better than I can). I can say that Talese certainly can keep cool under
pressure,unlike Frey who kept a whipped puppy look on his face and halfheartedly
uttered an acknowledgement of his lies. Frey sounded like a kid who's caught by
his parents doing something he shouldn't and tries to cut the lecture session
short by saying what they want to hear,in his opinion.

I have to say that I respect Oprah a hell of alot more after this and while I
still want her to have Jonathan Franzen on(one good talk would ease the tension),
she's done what many powerful people should do when the truth is exposed-take the
high road and confess,then clean up the mess. I confess that I'm a bad poet and I
know it.


Jake McCafferty said...

It reminds me of the old saying: "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you read."

Maybe it's more than half nowadays.

lady t said...

The way things are going,it's more like two-thirds of what you read.