Oprah’s revenge

Or Frey gets fried.

I wrote about my feelings on the James Frey scandal in a previous post.

Today, I’m spending the day nursing a cold (so I can fly tomorrow without coughing myself out of the sky), and have been surfing the ‘Net all day. I finally tracked down and read the latest on the Frey/Oprah situation. You can read a good article about it by Harriet Frey (no relation) on Salon.com, “Oprah’s revenge.” (If you’re not a Salon.com member, you’ll have to sit through a very short advertisement to read the article; it’s worth it.)

I also read a few of the dozens of comments following the article. The one that seems to echo my sentiments perfectly said, in part:

But maybe an underlying reason this subject has become so controverial is BECAUSE Frey’s story is just more drop in the seemingly endless river of bullshit Americans are compelled to swim through by a media addicted to conflating reality and fiction. Fictionalized truth may have been a groundbreaking, freeing approach for Capote. Several decades later though, the method has clearly reached the viral stage, detached from its original purpose and spread thoughout the culture, where it has become a primary tool of media types on the make, trying to distinguish themselves in a tough, highly competitive industry. As a reader, I want to trust an author. If it is a work of fiction, I can admire the writer’s skill and imagination; if it is non-fiction, I want to be able to rely on the author’s accuracy.

(I added the emphasis.)

Sadly, James Frey’s career is now made. It doesn’t matter if his writing is any good. The math says all. If only 25% of his readers like his book, it isn’t a big deal when he sells only 10,000 copies. But if he sells over a million? That’s 250,000 fans. He can thank Oprah for giving him the million plus readers he needs to assure his future success.

What do you think?