Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Million Little Pieces (pt 3)

This controversy continues to fascinate me, and here's today's take on the whole situation.

Even though a part of this can be attributed to James Frey - if he embellished parts of this book and submitted it - the fault still largely lies with Random House. They either a) encouraged him to embellish b) allowed it to go through to publication or c) published the work without completely checking the facts which is sloppy and irresponsible of them. So in a lot of ways, this mishap can be attributed to the publisher.

And the other thing I'm wondering is - how did this even come up? The Smoking Gun web site - I'm not familiar with it - but apparently they go digging for information to discredit people? Why would you want to do that? James Frey was an addict and an alcholic - he went to rehab, got clean and stayed clean. He started writing screenplays, he wrote a book that became a best seller. He battled his demons and won and has to keep winning every day. Why not let him enjoy the success he's found with "A Million Little Pieces"?

And the fact of the matter is - all memoirs have pieces of them that are embellished. No person can remember the exact details of every day - especially years after the fact. I keep a journal that I write in every day. I have documented the last twelve years of my life in it - but it sure as hell doesn't have every detail of every day. If I ever decide to write a memoir, I'd sure as hell have to make a few things up.

I don't like it when people go digging for information to discredit others, just for the sake of discrediting others. It seems petty and stupid and these are the kinds of people I try to steer clear of my whole life. I don't like critics, I think it's a waste of time to bash a piece of work that might speak to somebody else. I know this makes me naive and innocent and sentimental, but that's just how I am. Screw you Smoking gun website. Try and find something better to do with your time, eh?


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Anonymous Drapo said...

Not to defend Smoking Gun, but they don't seek to discredit people--they seek to show the public the legal information and mugshots of famous people. Still not an "admirable" career goal, but nonetheless, the aren't out to discredit anyone. They went looking for Frey's mugshot to show Joe Schmoe (i.e., me) what he looked like when he was arrested (in other words, how fucked up he looked in his mushot. See Nick Nolte's mugshot for what I'm talkin' bout, Willis.). They couldn't find Frey for the specific offenses he proclaimed in his book to have been arrested for, and so the investigation ensued. I guess the "rubber-necker" in me felt a need to defend Smoking Gun (owned, at least partly, by Court TV), since they provide me with hours of entertainment :)

I agree wholeheartedly with you, though, about the publisher likely being to blame for many of the issues that have come to light (having worked for one for many years myself). Until publishers stop whoring themselves for the next best memoir before the craze/trend ends, we are probably going to see more of these "scandals" breaking.

And I also agree with you on congratulating Frey for overcoming adversity to become what many of us dream to be--successful, paid writers. He may have embellished a bit, but he still did some crazy-ass shit and lived to tell about it.

3:39 PM  

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