Archive for the ‘James Frey’ Category

2006 Gregorian Year In Discord

January 2, 2007

Greed, Chico:43 6006 YD

The Gregorian year of 2006 brought many changes, the most important to this weblog being the divinely inspired Hoopla calendar, which makes entries such as this somewhat superfluous . . . but again, ’tis the season . . . beyond the discovery of the Hoopla calendar, the most important events to this blog personally were the death of the Justified Agents of Mummu, and the birth of the E.’. E.’. – but that really shouldn’t be written of, even here.

The 2006 year of Discord began for me when Oprah the Forgiver, ruler of the mythical land of USA, executed James Frey on national television for the abysmal crime of “fictionalizing” his life story – something Oprah the Wise doesn’t believe in . . . yes folks, every other biography you’ve ever read has been 100% “TRUE”, written by an impartial, omnipotent god author . . . and of course, all the history books were also written by this benevolent wordsmith, fear not! Our literary innocence is preserved – at least it was until Kaavya Viswanathan pulled the same stunt, even if only for a few lines.

The 2006 year of Discord was given the enchanting term “sugar-tits” to chew on when Mad Mel Gibson was pulled over in July on DUI charges, resulting in a venomous and somewhat ridiculously hilarious racist tirade matched only by Michael Richards a few months later, who abandoned rationality -and sentence structure- in favour of simply stringing racist words together.

And, toward the end of the year the population of North America was distracted away from its woes by the vagina of Little Britney Spears, America’s sweetheart. No need to think about the people being sent home from Iraq and Afghanistan in body bags, no need to think about the growing homeless population – we’ve got Britney’s cooter!

There was more, of course, but it’s all a bit sickening in retrospect, and I’d rather look on to what is coming . . . hail Eris.

The Literary Inquisition

May 3, 2006

First James Frey, and now Kaavya Viswanathan; get a good seat upfront, make sure your vocal chords are rested, and bring marshmallows, because there’s gonna be a ROASTIN’!

The literary crowd has certainly become touchy lately, in a rather amusingly Stalinistic manner. There was a time when an author who (at best) paid tribute to another author, or (at worst) ripped another author off, was simply ridiculed and sunk into obscurity, but NO LONGER. Now if an author is perceived as having stolen something from someone (even unconsciously), or fictionalized moments the way we all do (without reprimand), the author is tarred and feathered, and not just in the town square: on national television, and in the mass media. Viswanathan should consider herself very lucky that she hadn’t had the misfortune of falling into Oprah’s book club yet, Lady O is probably just getting hungry again after having eviscerated and feasted on James Frey’s inner organs on her worship program, and would probably love to take some nibbles.

In the spirit of this new witch hunt I suggest we also strip James Joyce’s Ulysses from bookstores for stealing Chaucer’s style, as well as the styles of all the major early English writers; The works of H.P. Lovecraft should be taken from all bookstore shelves for stealing the style of Edgar Allen Poe; the works of Robert Anton Wilson should not only be taken from bookshelves, but also burned for not only stealing from Joyce, but from all the early English authors Joyce stole from; The writings of Hubert Selby Jr. should also be tossed for ripping off Joyce; The writings of the VC Andrews impostor should be deleted from shelves for impersonating VC Andrews; the vast work of Kilgore Trout should be burned for ripping off the vast work of Theodore Sturgeon; the writings of Robert Ludlum should be stripped from stores for stealing from Tom Clancy; The entire Little Miss series should be eliminated for ripping off the Mr. Men series.

I could go on.

Actually, I could go on and on. And on and on and on.

Oprah: Surely You Jest

January 27, 2006

The entire brou-ha-ha over the so-called fictions in James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” is bringing me dangerously close to a nonstop tidal-wave of barf. Are these people kidding, or do people just like drama and love to jump on a bandwagon of hate? Probably both, let’s be honest we are a lynching people. Sources disagree to exactly how many witches were actually killed in the infamous witch trials, but let’s be honest: they were killing witches because they liked it, not because they really felt threatened by them. Ditto for the Spanish Inquisition. People love to see someone hounded and caught, whether they want to admit it or not, even to themselves. James Frey is just the most recent, and one of the more juicy, victims.

On her show yesterday Oprah Winfrey berated author James Frey for “betraying millions of readers.” I would love to ask her majesty if she truly believes, in her heart of hearts, whether every other memoir and autobiography she has ever read was 100% true. If she does believe that she is, in my opinion, at best extremely naive and at worst a deluded fool. Memories are by definition subjective, there is no getting around that. We do not have access to other’s memories, or some preternatural objective memory computer, so the best we can do is retell things as we believed they happened. This makes every single memoir and autobiography ever printed fiction, whether you would like to believe it or not.

I don’t know whether James Frey intentionally altered what he believed to be the truth in his memoir, nor do I care. I choose to think for myself, and not have others tell me how things are or are not. When I heard about the hole in the cheek and the dentist visit minus Novocain I immediately and instinctively felt that these stories were false. Did I know for certain? No, but if one is even slightly savvy they would ask themselves a multitude of questions concerning these two incidents, most of which would lead to the conclusion of fiction entering the narrative. Do I care? No, I do not.

Q: Why do we read?
A: We read to be entertained.

Were you entertained by the book? If so, great; if not, fantastic too, but can you really say you were more entertained when you thought it was true? If so, why?

This entire debacle reminds me of the people who took their Milli Vanilli records back to the store when it turned out the singers of the songs were not who the listeners thought they were – I remember thinking at the time: “But isn’t it the MUSIC these people enjoyed? The music remains the same.”

And so, people, I tell you: the words remain the same.