Friday, January 27, 2006

Frey incurs the wrath of Oprah

A tiny bit (a very, very tiny bit) of me felt sorry for James Frey yesterday, as he sat on Oprah’s couch and she pummeled him with questions on a live show. It was such a somber thing. She didn’t even let the audience go all crazy—screaming and crying to be in her presence—just politely asked them to please sit. She then apologized for defending Frey on Larry King and went on to ask him pointed questions about the truth (or lack thereof) contained in his book, peppered between pronouncements of how disappointed and embarrassed she was about the whole fiasco, and groans of disgust from the audience. Then James got a bit of a reprieve when Oprah went after the publisher, demanding to know why they didn’t do fact-checking, all while James sat there looking like a deer in the headlights (or as Anderson Cooper said later on CNN, “a cornered rat”).

I kept waiting for her to ask him about the train wreck where two girls had died and which James said he was blamed for by the townsfolk and even questioned by the police about it (na ah). The Smoking Gun exposed this as a complete lie (see the bottom of page 5 and on into page 6 of the Smoking Gun report) and it may have been the most disturbing of them all. Still, she got him to admit that he spent a few hours, not three months in jail, that he may have had novacaine while getting his root canal (he says he received none but any addictions counselor can tell you that wouldn’t happen), and that his girlfriend, Lilly did not hang herself (after a lot of questions from Oprah, he said Lilly cut her wrists but I found him unbelievable in saying it). At the end, Oprah said that at least he had told the truth on the show and that this could be a new start for him. See, I don’t think that’s true at all. The “truth”s he told were dragged out of him by Oprah and even then he half-heartedly would answer them or would say things like “I don’t remember” and use clarifiers like “essentially” or “basically”. I don’t believe a thing he says and I didn’t believe it when I was trying to read the book. I got a part of the way through and couldn’t believe a thing in it. I have a lot of experience in addictions and none of what he was saying sounded the least bit believable. I think there was something that came out of Oprah’s show yesterday and it was the directive to publishers to at least do a little fact checking on anything they tout as memoir or bio or whatever. Anyone could have found out what the Smoking Gun did but no one tried.

I will give Frey credit for having the guts to show up there at all. I spent the whole hour thinking "why is he there?" I would not have done it.

I’m so glad I don’t have a memoir I’m trying to get published right now. I’m thinking they’ll be a hard sell in the near future.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger MrChills said...

As a reader of the book, I feel very betrayed. The book is still very good and I would have enjoyed it if it was sold as fiction, but when you believe that you are reading someones inner most feeling and actual facts, only to find out it is a shame is disheartening.

I would not have had the balls to show up on Oprah afterwards if I was him though


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