Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oprah Does The Right Thing

I have to give Oprah Winfrey credit. She went on her show to say, loudly, Mea Culpa! That is something author James Frey* (his real name and unfortunately also the name of another author who does NOT lie for a living. I hope they sort it out via middle initials.) pointedly did NOT do on the Larry King show as he defended his version of the truth. Oprah obviously read my blog and had a change of heart! Okay, she probably read a smattering of the invective being hurled by some very fine writers in newspaper columns all over the country. But my point is, her media empire is vast enough, and audience entrenched enough, that she doesn't have to apologize to anyone. The fact that she'd bother to do so says she cares about her credibility. She even admitted to being embarrasssed at this whole thing. That is just so rarely heard from a celebrity of any kind, much less one of her stature. I'm a little bit amazed that Mr. Lying Author appeared on the show again soley for the purpose of being browbeaten by Oprah, columnist Richard Cohen, and others. He said he had "made mistakes," and when Oprah pressed him on it, even admitted to making mistakes AND lying. Granted, this second Oprah appearance will guarantee even MORE book sales. But honestly, the book was doing so well, fueled first by the book club selection, and now by the controversy, that the second show wasn't really necessary. I'm wondering if his publisher, Doubleday's Nan Talese, threatened to apply a very hot poker to his private parts. They are in major damage control mode. Now that financial success is guaranteed, apparently Nan would STILL like to maintain a shred of credibility. Hard to do when your own husband, Gay Talese, is doing the rounds on national TV basically disagreeing with you. Some have even suggested that the publisher may have subtly nudged Mr. Frey along the duplicitous path he ultimately took. Who knows! Wouldn't surprise me. I would really like the publisher to add a note at the end of the book. "Based on a true story." My brother called me this afternoon to ask if I knew anything about this "Frey guy" and why Oprah was interviewing him, and why he looked so uncomfortable. I said, "Read my blog!" But it also gave me a chance to flick on CBS and catch part of Oprah's show. Yes, it was fun watching Frey agree with everyone that he was, in fact, a big fat liar. I mean really, a root canal with no novocaine? I don't know too many non-Nazi dentists who would do that. So Oprah, from me to you, I'm sorry for calling you the country's most prominent enabler. I am heartened to see you stand up for Truth, Justice AND the American Way. Just like Superman would. As to Mr. Frey's book, well, heating oil prices are high. I hear a lot of people are buying wood-burning stoves. Let's put his book to good use!

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