Chance Favors the Prepared Mind
Heyzeus H. Cristobal! When Kurt told me about this, I was a little dissappointed in Mr. O. But if he put the f-ing caveat at the front of the book, who's to complain about it?!Weak, indeed.
You can't really be disappointed. That's sort of the nature of memoir writing. No one can remember every single thing from memory, and every memoir uses a little fiction and composite characters. Real life is too complicated to have it all there exactly as it happened with all the correct history intact.
I can and I shall be!Seriously though, I completely agree with you. My initial reaction was based on the fact that I didn't know anything about the book (whether it was autobiography, memoir, or what) and assumed that he published it as bald fact. He obviously didn't so this criticism is just dumb. And pathetically desperate.
Getting hung up on which characters are real, which are fictionalized (and to what degree), whether this event happened 5 months or 7 years after this one... I can never bring myself to care about that bullshit. I do believe there is literal truth (though not Truth), and in certain venues where there is a presumption of literal truth (newspapers, Congressional hearings, et cetera) I believe it's important. But in things like filmmaking and memoir- or song-writing (areas where there's an expectation of artistry or of what we might call abstract honesty) this seems like obsessing about the trees rather than considering the forest. Heaven forbid anyone tries wriitng an actual novel before running for the Presidency.On the same note, I like Oprah's South African Girls school but I think she treated James Frey unfairly.
When Jim Webb of Virginia ran for Congress (and won) this year, George Allen tried to use Webb's fictional novels against him. It made a ripple, but I think people are beyond petty things like that...thankfully. And it looks like it won't hurt Obama, as the cocaine thing didn't hurt him...yet. I guess we should wait and see what happens when Hillary gets into her "get-the-hell-outta-my-way" mode.On the other hand, I don't understand why memoir writers don't just say "this is a work of fiction based on my life" or something to that effect.I completely agree that we all embellish our lives in stories we tell, but didn't Frey totally create events that weren't even based on something truthful? (I'm really asking, cuz I haven't read his book or seen the Oprah thing). If he did, then I think he should just go ahead and call it fiction.
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