Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

I'm probably about to be banned from the Internet Writer's

Workshop.

Who'd have thought?

:-)

Buncha pompuos, arrogant, sanctimonious, affectatious bastards anyhow.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 13th, 2006
We are the only ones magnanimous and indulgent enough? No surprises there. ;-)
Permalink KayJay 
January 13th, 2006
Here's the message I posted that I know is going to sic the admins on me. Obviously there's some missing context but I think the gist survives:

Angie,

I hardly think that a memoir, a work of literature and arguably a fictional one, is in any way analogous to food that you consume which becomes part of your body chemistry. You're a writer, can't you do better than that?

I don't understand your need to lambaste Sara personally when she expresses a view that is common to many. Why NOT fill in the details, if it makes for a better story? How about attacking the idea and not the person, eh?

Anyhow, I think that ad libbed details can help to set the tone of the piece better than deliberately vague language in areas that you don't remember well. You may not remember whether it was September or June, but your frail human memory does retain the 'mood' of the day, the overall emotional sum, if you know what I mean. Improvising details can help to build that same mood, or sum, without materially changing the semantics of the account. I still have trouble seeing what precisely is wrong with this.

It almost seems like jealousy. Here is a list full of aspiring authors. Some of you, I know, have been published. Some of you have been published to publications that fewer than a thousand people have even heard of, so I'm not sure that counts. And then here's Frey, who cheated. Frey cheated because he embellished his memoir, and ended up on Oprah, and made a million dollars or two (though I've heard that his publisher is giving refunds because people are just SO upset about his fabrications. I suspect that there are at least a few of those folks who thoroughly enjoyed the book but see an opportunity to have read it for free. I'd suggest that those people try a library next time.)

Frey cheated, and succeeded where many of you haven't, and I can't help but wonder if that's not the underlying motive behind some of this anger. Not all, certainly, but I'll bet it's a component of some.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 13th, 2006
KayJay believe it or not, this is about the most indulgent place that exists on the internet with non-absentee moderators.

:-)
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 13th, 2006
"KayJay believe it or not, this is about the most indulgent place that exists on the internet with non-absentee moderators."

Yes! That's what I've been trying to say about ?off.

Value it, people.
Permalink AllanL5 
January 13th, 2006
Frey, for the unenlightened, is the much-lambasted author of "A Million Little Pieces". Seems he exaggerated a few details in his memoirs, which has made some people VERY upset.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 13th, 2006
Huh. Was he promising people magical powers or something? A few memoir writers write in the genre of pop-new-age and claim all sorts of encounters with the unexplained. Those would be details worth getting upset about.

Otherwise, who cares if he boinked a virgin or not? I mean, unless he was claiming it was the Virgin Mary.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 13th, 2006
He was in a county jail for 3 hours, or something like that, and claimed it was 3 days to embellish his story. That's the version I heard. I haven't fact-checked it.

I hardly think it constitutes fraud, but people are ripping him apart in the media and consumers are demanding refunds on their purchased copies of his book.

Do people REALLY expect memoirs to be precise historical accounts? Give me a break.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
Anyway the folks on the IWW email list, I've decided, are largely idiots. They fall strictly, in general, into the "user" category that we tend to lambaste here. They are the (slightly more intelligent than average, in that they're basically literate) proles.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Any trip to the writing section of the bookstore yields a ton of books that read like they're written for children, and a handful of actually useful books.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 13th, 2006
Yep. These are the sorts of people who send those forwarded email chain letters to you all the time. They're JUST discovering "weblogs" and think they're the neatest brand new thing.

Then they publish snippets of their novels to their poorly-installed, default template blogs with the tab characters and single-spaced paragraphs in tact. ::shudder::
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
I was going to say its lambast and not lambaste and then I thought hmmm no I think both exist and its one of those words where the spelling depends on pronunciation.

So I say lambAst and you say lambAYst.

I don't think its a transatlantic difference.

wordle, wordle, brain...


Authors (espcially hardly published ones) are extremely precious as a group.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 13th, 2006
Define:lambaste and define:lambast get the exact same definition in Google. It's eerie.

Yeah, writers do tend to be precious. It's not exactly like jocks have the desire to write down every precious thing that happens to them.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 13th, 2006
They're making way too much of this "Million Little Pieces" thing.

I read the book. The part about him being in jail is only a tiny, tiny bit of the story. The story is mainly about his month in rehab, and from what I've heard, that part is fairly accurate.

So what's the big deal? The book was good.
Permalink Dana 
January 13th, 2006
Dana -

That's pretty much my position.

I was informed by The List that I'm in the minority, and that I'm not a very honorable person, and on and on.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
"I was informed by The List that I'm in the minority, and that I'm not a very honorable person, and on and on"

Unless there is something else in the 'on and on' part, these could just be facts.

What are you complaining about?
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
Sure, Erik. Isn't there somebody's pet dog you're supposed to be out molesting, or something?
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
That's the 'not an honorable person' bit.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
Yes because calling people idiots "to their faces" when they are, in fact, idiots is dishonorable... somehow.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
So you realize you are an asshole, but complain when they call you one?
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
Calling someone a dog molester on the internet because they disagree with you isn't quite the same as calling them an idiot to their face, is it?
Permalink Andy 
January 13th, 2006
The Smoking Gun has a rather long piece about some of his fictional biography.
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0104061jamesfrey1.html
Here is where his lawyers threaten TSG (who also operate CourtTV) with a Big Lawsuit™ if they expose his fiction:
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/jamesfrey/freysides/singerfrey1.html

Why exaggerate his past? There is a common theme among twelvesteppers and bornagains to over exaggerate just how bad/vile/fallen they were before they were "saved."
Permalink Peter 
January 13th, 2006
Erik -

Being an asshole is not synonymous with being dishonorable, which was my point.

Fuckstick.

Peter -

Why NOT exaggerate? The man is selling a story. Hyperbole sells. Why the fuck not? What sane person cares, in the context of a memoir?
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
Generic, he is also claiming that his method for overcoming drug abuse/dependency works. Selling his story is one thing. Selling medical treatment is another. OK, so he pitches it as "I did X, and so can you!" That becomes toxic and dangerous when he never did X.
Permalink Peter 
January 13th, 2006
The only specific "allegation" that I've heard is that he claimed to have been in county lockup for 3 days when in fact it was 3 hours. What other fabrications has he been caught in that actually effect the overall outcome/methodology described in the book?
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
"Being an asshole is not synonymous with being dishonorable, which was my point."

That's too much semantic subtility for most people.

Asshole.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
So you're saying that you're ignorant?
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
I am saying once people decide that you are an asshole, most will not invest a lot of energy into finding out what kind of an asshole. And maybe they just use a slightly more polite term of 'dishonorable'.

Which you deserve from time to time anyway.

And a purist could say: once dishonorable always dishonorable.

Not everybody has the patience to investigate a pile of shit to see if there are some good pieces hidden inside.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
Erik -

Please give an example of an instance where I've deserved the label "dishonorable."

How do you figure that being dishonorable is even tangentially related to being an asshole? They're just not compatible terms.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 13th, 2006
See above. The doggy remark.

If your response would not have been interpreted as a (pretty lame) attempt of humour - and there was no smiley, than it is certainly dishonourable.

I didn't take offence, because I know you for what you are, but taken seriously it would be very low.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
"taken seriously it would be very low."

just to provide another viewpoint...I found it amusing.

To be honest I think its very small minded of you to insist on *not* being called a dog molestor. You are, at least obliquely, implying that being a dog molestor (like yourself) is a bad thing, when in fact that is merely a cultural viewpoint.

Seriously I think that you should value and be proud of your dog molesting tendencies Erik, those of us not gifted with such...perverted fantasies...cannot truly understand what it is to be you.

You are a pervert, and you are OK.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 13th, 2006
I leave dog molesting to my two cats, Jesus!
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 13th, 2006
"he is also claiming that his method for overcoming drug abuse/dependency works."

That is pretty despicable. I suppose one argument could go like this: "If he's willing to lie about the severity and extent of his drug abuse/legal problems, what's to say he isn't lying about the effectiveness of his treatment method." He's no longer just some schmuck asking for your sympathy, he's some schmuck asking you to put faith in his method, and possibly give him money to treat you or train you or open a center or something.

But I've seen it happen dozens of times before, motivational speaker types are always borrowing each other's stories and pretend what happened to one person also happened to them. Heck, my alcoholic friends embellish on their stories to make them more dramatic, and what fascinates me is that I think they really remember things that way.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 13th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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