Tuesday, January 31, 2006

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.


At 3:30 PM, Blogger Andrew Tavani said...


Thanks for the link to my site. Amazingly, you and I are in a tiny minority on this issue.

There's probably some disturbing psychology at play in all of this. Obviously, Oprah can't stand to have her tremendous ego bruised, but that's of little surprise to me. I don't understand the general public's outrage over this "scandal."

I feel like people are crucifying him out of some twisted sense of self-loathing and sheer jealousy of his success.

Great point, by the way: "America should expect LESS of its crack addicts, and MORE of its elected officials."

That seems to be a fundamental problem in our country.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Msb00 said...

a hero? hardly.

part of the problem, yes.

victim of "the problem", no.

too much made of it, yes.

but...blatant and manipulative on Frey's part, yes.

guilty as charged, yes.

a dumbshit, yes he is.

oprah a dumbshit, yes she is.

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Michael Olson said...

I agree with what you wrote. I had not realized that the follow-up Oprah appearance went so miserably. What really scares me is that so many people actually watch talk shows, court TV, police videos, and other forms of drivel that focus on the faults of others. They're like vultures feeding off the dead.

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with the minority on this one. I don't know the degree that Frey's book influenced my teenager to stay away from drugs and drinking, but I know she read it twice and was seized emotionally. I wish every teenager was required to read A Million Little Pieces. WE might save at least a few from a life of hell.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

And don't forget, this is the same Oprah that threw a huge hissy fit when she tried to go to an Hermes store in Paris and was turned away because it was closed for a special event.


At 3:17 PM, Blogger Schaequonne said...

I wholeheartedly agree that someone in the media, as Jon Stewart so artfully pointed out on the Daily Show, should hold any government official to account about lying with half the passion Oprah had for the Frey issue.

Frey a hero, though? No. Obviously he punked her and his readers, a made-up tough guy with a made-up memoir. He had no choice but to go back on that show and take a beating from Oprah. It's obviously not something he did out of the goodness of his heart. She read his book and believed it was a true story, shared it with the world and brought him tons of money and publicity, then even defended him when he was exposed for being a liar.

Sure, Oprah's queen of a sorry little world, but he played them for chumps willingly, let her rave initially about how she couldn't believe such a remarkable story was all true, then got kicked off her court.

This post makes me wonder who might be self-hating and jealous... of Oprah.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger anyoneUSA said...


this guys got a good defense too.

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Kenzie said...

I agree completely with you on this one. It would be nice if everyone would admit to lying ...


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