Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh, by the way, none of this is true . . .

What is the deal lately with all these non-fiction writers and supposed journalists who make shit up and announce it as truth? Are these the laziest sumsabitches that ever walked the earth? Why can't they just pick a genre and fucking go with it? Fiction or non-fiction? Paper or plastic? Chevy or Ford? PC or Mac? These aren't difficult questions, people.

Today, Oprah gave an on-air tongue lashing to James Frey, the tool whose supposed biography, "A Million Little Pieces," turned out to be partially made up. Egg was on the media queen's face after she'd chosen the how-I-beat-drugs memoir for her book club last year, which sparked a huge surge in sales.

It'd be weird if this were the first time but it seems to be happening all over the place lately. Locally, we discoverd that the enigmatic author JT Leroy not only made everything up but actually, never even existed. Even Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon were fooled.

It may be less despicable when the lies appear in a non-historical book but when the darkness moves to the newsroom, my feelings of anger rise up and suddenly, I want to do horrible violent things to the offenders.

Specifically, I would enjoy throwing big, sharp, glass objects at those ungrateful dogs, Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass. I'm so pleased that both of their subsquent tell-all books, "Burning Down My Master's House" and "The Fabulist" were met with abysmal sales, despite all the media attention. For once, the masses did not let me down.

May they all gather and rot at The Black Table, telling made up stories to one another until the Big Editor in the sky comes down with Her red pen, crossing them out forever.

Okay, I need to calm down but the truth is, it hurts. It hurts me personally because that stupid motherfucker Blair had the most kick ass job in the entire world working for the biggest, baddest paper in the country and he just took a shit on it. Everything, all the amazing history of the paper, the journalists that came before him - black, white, green, whatever - he just spat right in their faces.

And now here I am, looking for a journalism job, begging for a paper or magazine to let me in the door. Give me a desk. Send me out in the field. Let me bring my camera. Please, for the love of God, give me a deadline. Idiots like this make it harder for me and for every writer or journalist who has worked their ass off, followed the straight line, respected the reader and never, ever been noticed.

Finally, at long last, I must ask the question: Is real life not weird enough???? I'm sorry but every attempt I've made at creating fiction has been excrutiating. Beyond the fact that I do not have this amazing gift, I always shrug my shoulders in defeat when I realize I could not possibly create from scratch anything more disturbing, joyful and bizarre than what the real world provides.

Anyone read the papers??? The story about the seven adopted kids who died in a school bus and when the grandfather heard, he keeled over dead? The smuggling tunnels that run under the U.S.-Mexico border? Female hostages held by terrorists? New planets? Disney buys Pixar??? This is bizarre stuff, people, and this is just today so what is the problem? Seriously.

My favorite tidbit that never went anywhere: The WWII Japanese fighter pilot who struck up a peacemaking correspondence with a man he once tried to kill. Then, he finally got the chance to come to America and meet his penpal. Just as he shook the man's hand, he dropped dead on the spot. I read this in a two-paragraph obituary in the LA Times about 10 years ago and I only remember it because I thought it the cruelest dose of karma.

See? See how there is stuff everywhere???

Whew! Okedokee, gonna pour me a little drinkipoo before I end up throwing the cat . . .


Fang Bastardson said...

Other than your decision to not throw the cat (cats should be free... FREEEE!) I couldn't agree more. When I fill out a form at a new place - these days lately usually doctors - I always put "Newspaperman" under occupation. It used to be an honorable profession. It used to open doors, not be a punchline.

Fuck all these bastards and let the fly the felines!

Fang Bastardson said...

Goddammit, that last line should read:
Fuck all these bastards and let fly the felines!

That's why real Newspaperman have proofreaders...

Anonymous said...

What is scary is who writes like this and we don't know about. The distant past, the recent past. Who knows. Now it seems cool to "out" yourself as a fake.

Perhaps this is more pervasive than we care to think.

Ever seen F for Fake by Orson Welles?

Enjoying your writing btw, js
1st comment, as i find this fascinating....

ClizBiz said...

Hey Anonymous! Thanks for the Orson Welles tip, as I am a huge fan and haven't seen it.

God Bless Netflix.