I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Monday. I meant to, but somehow got sidetracked. First, there was the SASE brouhaha between Miss Snark and Joe Konrath (search for SASE in both blogs since there was more than one post). Then there was the whole James Frey thing, which really just pisses me off. He LIED. Why all the dissembling about what memoirs mean and what’s really lying anyway and oh it’s mostly true and blah blah blah when the book says non-fiction on the spine? Non-fiction means to me that what is contained within these pages is as close to the truth as it can be (taking into consideration that memories are inherently faulty). Oprah touted this book as a lifesaving heartwarming true story of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps.
But saying you spent three months in jail where you bonded with an illiterate murderer and helped him appreciate Tolstoy when you really only spent 5 hours in lockup (and never even got near a murderer or Tolstoy) is WRONG. And Oprah defending him on Larry King disappoints me more than I can say. She says the controverys is “much ado about nothing” when she ought to be saying, Hey, I’m as disappointed as you are. I was moved by the book, but I wish I’d known what was true and what wasn’t before I recommended it to others.
The almighty dollar rules, however. And I’m not saying I’m so naive that I don’t realize the American public gets fed lies on a daily basis and keeps asking for more. Reality shows aren’t all that real after all. They’re scripted. Doesn’t stop people from wanting them. We like the drama of seeing people under pressure. We also like underdog stories. We want to see Everyman (or woman) triumph. We want to hoist them on our backs and parade them around the forum huzzahing the whole way, because if they can do it, anyone can do it. We reward them with our admiration and our dollars. The incentive for mischief in pursuit of that reward is inherent, especially as our need for the triumphant Everyman erodes our necessity for proof positive.
Glad I write fiction. But maybe I should consider a memoir. I did spend an afternoon in jail once. Of course, it was a tour and I was about 14, but I’m sure I can beef that part up a bit. I had a boyfriend that got arrested once. Does that count?