Hey, my pal Claire Zulkey was on the tee vee yesterday! Check it out.
Having not read A Million Little Pieces, I have little to say about it other than the handful of excerpts on Slate were pretty stupid. I am enjoying, as Delia Ephron put it, people's apparently limitless capacity to be surprised by the fact that most memoirs were initially pitched as novels. They end up as memoirs for three reasons: memoirs are hot right now; novels pay shit; and you can get away with being a worse writer if you claim your book is the true story of your life instead of a fictionalized account of what you wish your life was like. At any rate, I was highly amused at Oprah's meltdown yesterday. She continues to be able to make it (whatever it happens to be at any given moment) all about her: despite manifesting a teeny-tiny degree of shame by actually apologizing for her previous defense of the non-true truthiness of Frey's book, she generally took the line that it was all his fault for being a big ol' fibber and not very much her fault for reading the book uncritically and promoting it unceasingly. Mostly she came across as scolding him not so much for writing a ham-fistedly sexed-up version of his own life and presenting it as 'truth', but more for making her look bad.
My favorite moment came when Frey's editor, Nan Talese, slinked out to, among other things, make the claim that she didn't think anything was suspicious about the passage where he claimed to have gotten a root canal without anaesthesia, because she had done the same thing herself. Now, there was nothing unseemly about this blatant heap of bullshit -- editors lie all the time. That's practically their job. What was funny was how Oprah's audience immediately booed and groaned at this patent fabrication, just as they had immediately embraced the dentist story when she read it out of the book the first time. Oprah had declared that the book was true and real and great, and they all cheered; Oprah had declared that the book was false and decietful and wrong, and they all hissed. It must be nice not to have to figure stuff out for yourself.
The whole Palestine election thing is doubly ridiculous. Bush has been pretending for five years that he gives a shit about democratic elections in the Middle East, and now that he's seen one that he can't stage-manage like he did the ones in Iraq, he's acting like someone sent him webcam footage of Jenna throwing up in a toilet.
And everyone -- but especially the US and Israel (in other words, the two parties most responsible for why the average Palestinian is in a near-constant state of rage) -- is acting like it's some kind of tectonic shock that a desperate, angry, poverty-stricken, religiously saturated, and essentially hopeless population just might vote for the party who feeds them a line of reactionary, tough-sounding, violent, defiant hard-liner rhetoric. In other words, the Bush and Sharon governments are expressing surprise that what got them in office also got Hamas in office.