Thursday, January 26, 2006
You walk by and I fall to A Million Little Pieces
Too much media coverage for my money. Even Jack Abramoff is going, "Thank God for James Frey!" And he's going up the river! Way up the river. But maybe he can go on Oprah, too, and wash his soul clean. Anyway, so Oprah made and broke this guy, but I can't help but feel cynical about the whole thing. This is the era of Questioning Everything! The Dictionary definition of autobiography is "1. the art or practice of writing one's own biography, 2. an indigenous animal or plant.." No, I'm sorry, that's autochthon... "2. the story of one's own life written or dictated by oneself" Memoir is defined as "1. a biography or biographical sketch, usually one written by someone who knew the subject well. 2 [pl.] an autobiography, esp. one that is objective and anecdotal in emphasis rather than inward and subjective 3 [pl.] a report or record of important events based on the writer's personal observation or knowledge 4 a report or record of a scholarly investigation, scientific study, etc. 5 [pl.] the record of the proceedings of a learned society." The word on the street is, a memoir is typically something written by an old dude in an easychair smoking a pipe. This James Frey guy is just a young punk! Where does he get off writing a so-called memoir? What does he know about being a bullfighter or being an old man in the sea trying to catch a fish? And who did he rip off is the main question. But no one reads books anymore so no one knows. We must look to all those Comp. Lit. students in college who go to parties and talk about how they're taking Comp Lit courses. See also: Memoirs of an Invisible Man, and Memoirs of a Geisha.
But whatever happens, the main lesson here is that the truth still matters above all else. Especially if it's a memoir about a sleazebag drug abuser, we expect said sleazebag drug abuser to tell the truth about it. And if it's about being cool, even the Fonz knows that the truth is the coolest thing of all, even when it's not. The only real question here is who's going to play the lead in the movie adaptation? I'm thinking Loren Dean; make it a sequel to Mumford. Maybe James Frey could donate some of the profits from his book to charity, but I don't know. He seems like the "Charity begins at home" type. Besides, he's the hottest thing to happen to books in the last 100 years since the ingrown bookmark. Isn't that charitable enough?
p.s. Gotta love that cover. A guy decorating a cake had a mishap! Who knew?