Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Million Little Pieces of BS


I find I'm still not done with James Frey after his performance last night on Larry King Live. It was creepy, right down to the similarities between King's studio backdrop and Frey's bookcover.

Frey presented a persona that perhaps was supposed to convey serenity, but he looked near-catatonic as he repeated, with the discipline of a Republican functionary, his evasive reponses to King's puffball questions. And then hauled out his mother to reiterate the talking points.

If King were a real journalist (they still do call his channel CNN) or had even read The Smoking Gun article about how the author of A Million Little Piecesfictionalized his redemptive tale, King would have easily been able to slice through the BS and sidestepping. (He seemed scarcely to be listening, repeating questions and even asking if Frey was an only child after Frey had made references to his brother.) But he let Frey equate percentage of pages in one book with the magnitude of the actual falsehoods he had put forth over his two recovery "memoirs." Had King been up to speed on investigative report, he might have asked actual questions that conveyed its substance.

But that's not what his show is about. It's pillow talk for celebrities needed to do PR repair.

Fortunately for Frey, his stay at Hazelden is cloaked in confidentiality, so that part of his account — the majority of the book, as he kept reminding us — is not subject to the examination accorded his so-called criminal records.

The little drama at the end, with Oprah calling in to express her support, was also pretty transparent. Frey made numerous references to his work with Oprah's producers post his appearance on her show that relaunched his book. King kept asking, Have you heard from Oprah? What does Oprah think?

Does anyone really believe that someone who manages her image so carefully as Winfrey was just sitting home eating Oreos and watching the tube and decided on whim to phone in just before King signed off?

It was all a Frey commercial: Can you believe me now?

2 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Quimby said...

King couldn't even get the name right of Frey's latest book, repeatedly calling it "My Best Friend Leonard."

The curiously passive Frey never bothered to correct the host, even by stating the name himself. Maybe he simply believed King was entitled to his own memory of the title...

8:02 AM  
Blogger bob said...

Well....sorry about that, I'm sure that it's because my motor skills and congnitive abilities were damaged during my long years as incorriglble substance abuser. Let me tell you....
The article in the Strib about Frey came out just as my daughter was finishing the book. We've had several discussions about it over the last week or two, and what she was telling me sounded a little fishy. It really bugs me that this guy exposes my "straight edge" kid to these fabrications about the dangers of drugs and then gets exposed as a liar. I can imagine the thought process, "Adults lie about drugs to scare us away, I'll listen to what my peers say and find out for myself." Reefer madness stikes again!

Maybe I should just bare all the details of my sordid past, that should scare her.

5:42 AM  

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