James Frey went on Oprah today, and in a rare live broadcast, she essentially humiliated him in front of millions of people for the crime of lying in his book, A Million Little Pieces. She opened with, "I've been broadcasting for [ungodly number of years] and I've never been in this position before." A bit of video lays out the "story so far" all the way up to her call to Larry King where she essentially let James off the hook.
In the 2 weeks since she called in to Larry's show to say she "believed in the essential truths of the book", the columnists and cultural critics in the country really laid into her. Apparently, she listened, because when they cut back to Oprah, she said, "I now regret that phone call." Turns out Frey was on-stage with her, ready for his reaming. And boy did he get one. She rattled off things that happened in the book almost page by page to ask what was true and what was lies. It was awkward and he didn't seem like a guy you could trust. You couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy.
A couple of panelists on the show had two good suggestions so stuff like this is less likely to happen again. 1) Publishing houses should hire fact-checkers to vett these things (because they don't have them), and 2) authors should include disclaimers in their memoirs about the level of truthiness in their books. I think they ought to do those things and soon.
(For another blogger-iffic reactions to today's show, click on this very short column, and here for some well-deserved scorn for Nan Talese, the book's publisher.)
Ok. This was shorter. Still boring as hell, right? Oh well. I gave it a try.