RagHag Diva

Dissecting all the weekly trash celebrity magazines so YOU don't have to!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Title: A Million Little Daggers

Subtitle: Shooting out of Oprah's Eyes Straight into your Lying Soul

I'm a big fan of the Oprah Book Club. I know many of my fellow peers and professors at the University of Michigan English and Creative Writing department would scoff at this admission. But if any of them are reading this blog, they would know that I've already admitted that I love Kelly Clarkson. And I know the truth about them - their disdain for this bourgeois reading program is truly thinly veiled jealousy that their book was not chosen. Because making Oprah's Book Club is basically, in the literary world, hitting the goddamn lottery.

So I read lots of Book Club selections, including James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. I had the same reactions most people had - flipping the book over countless times to look at the photo of the author to make sure this guy was still alive, reading passages aloud to Mr. Diva that were completely incredulous. When Mr. Diva doubted some of the sections I read him, saying "How in the hell did he get let on a plane with blood covering him, missing teeth, and practically passed out?" or "Who in the hell gets two root canals with no novocaine and lives to tell about it," my response was always the same: "I know! But dude, I saw him on Oprah."

Oprah's a powerful, powerful woman. Take this book: before she named it as a Book Club pick, he sold at most a few thousand copies. Oprah puts her sticker of approval on it - and it becomes the 2nd best selling book of the year (the best seller? Harry Potter. Duh. And yes, I read that too).

So when The Smoking Gun revealed he made up a bunch of shit, it was automatically a scandal, with Ms. Winfrey right in the middle of it. In fact, the report is called The Man Who Conned Oprah.

I read the report and I realized that it wasn't Oprah who was conned - it was me - and all the other chumps who shelled out cash to read the delusions of grandeur from a former fraternity boy.

Oprah at first defended Jimmy, calling into Larry King Live to do so publicly. But it was too late for me - it was crap. Frey said on the show that he only "embellished" small parts of the book - 10 pages in all - to make it more dramatic. Embellishments such as spending not 30 days in the clink, but 2 hours. And being arrested not for hitting a cop with his car, but for parking in a no-parking zone and having an open container in his car.

But what Oprah didn't understand when she was defending him was that these weren't fuzzy memories on his part. These were deliberate lies to make him look like a badass. It's funny, tho - most people lie to make themselves look better. But this loser lied to make himself look worse - thereby making his story more cinematic, more colorful, more lively.

But once these were determined to be outright mistruths, then nothing of his story could be believed. I doubted he was ever a drug addict - that he was a fledging writer looking for a story and so faked it in order to get inside access to a rehab center. I doubted he ever even tried crack or heroin, let alone became addicted. I'm guessing he probably smoked pot and may have taken some mushrooms a few times in college. I don't believe a word the fucker says.

Why am I talking about this? Because Oprah changed her mind. She realized that by going on Larry King that night, she was basically saying, "It's okay to publish lies, as long as people get something out of it." Well, she reconsidered.

I watched the show today, and she really gave it to him. You can see some clips on her website. I can't belive he even went on the show. But the one thing he didn't do is say "I lied, and I'm sorry I misled you." It could have been that simple. Take a lesson from Hugh Grant. Instead, he had the audacity that his "embellishments" were a defense mechanism. Defense from what, I have no idea. Anyway, Oprah really ripped him a new one and he sat there and took it. It was great TV.

If you haven't read the book, don't. Read Dry by Augusten Burroughs. Of course, that could be all bullshit too. But at least it was well-written.

Oh man, I'm sounding like my UofM counterparts. Time to wrap this up before I start spewing Foucault out my ass.

(And in the spirit of honesty, yes. I, too, am jealous as hell I don't have a book on Oprah's Book Club. Hell, I'm jealous I don't have a book. )

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