James Frey is an American Hero
That headline is not a typo, nor is it a joke.
James Frey, whose memoir of drug addiction, prison, and suicide, was recently shown to be exaggerated, went on the Oprah Winfrey show and openly admitted in front of a national audience that he had altered the truth in his work. Oprah, upon whose recommendation the book became a bestseller, was livid. She called him a liar to his face several times.
A lot of people are upset with him, it seems. But I think it is incredible that a man could have the balls to sit on national TV and submit to the rim-job he got from Oprah. There probably isn't a government official in all of Washington DC who would sit down like that and admit to being a liar. We know Bush wouldn't, even though it can be proven that he's been lying since before he was elected.
We're living in a rich culture of lies right now, and believe it or not the Bush administration is not at fault for this. They are just riding a huge swell of lying that has been growing for years. Everybody is lying - citizens, corporations, politicians, me. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld just get the attention because their lies have caused the most damage. But the media gets to pick on Frey because he can't fight back. If you call Bush and Cheney out as liars, they'll come get you, or at least out your wife as a CIA agent. Oprah and the media are just bullies - themselves scared of greater powers.
Oprah and the media have no problem outing this man as a liar, whose lies were only created to make a more interesting story and sell more books. His lies didn't send young men to war, kill tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, or implicitly condone torture. His lies didn't cost millions their pensions or cause massive domestic layoffs. The only thing his lies did was earn him more money than he probably should have, and maybe get him laid. And when you get down to the specifics of what he lied about, it seems even sillier.
In one particular video clip on the Oprah show Frey admitted that his girlfriend had not committed suicide by hanging herself, but by slitting her wrists. The audience booed him. BOOED. Is slitting your wrists somehow "better" than hanging? Perhaps they'd have cheered if he said his girlfriend threw herself under a lawnmower. The seedier the story, the more the repressed housewives love it. If I were James Frey I'd have jumped off that couch and punched Oprah right in her smug face, then punched everyone in her audience in the face.
Why doesn't Oprah, who acts so moral when it comes to the lies of nonfiction authors, go after the lies of our government, and of the corporations - the lies that are causing true harm in this nation and this world? I say to you, Oprah, you are the hypocrite. James Frey is a hero and deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor, or at least the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If not, why is it we expect a crack addict to have perfectly sound judgement in the field of ethics? America should expect LESS of its crack addicts, and MORE of its elected officials.
Of course, maybe the media is just getting themselves warmed up before they go after the big guys. Maybe they just needed a practice shot. We'll see.
Late update: Take a look at this horseshit: Oprah's Li'l Liar Sued
Late update 2: Some excellent thoughts on the subject at Alternavision.