So. I've been following the whole James Frey vs. The Smoking Gun business since the beginning, mostly due to a coincidence of timing – I finally got around to reading the book just a week or so before the Smoking Gun's big exposé broke, and it was still fresh on my mind, and Frey's backpedaling and twisting in the wind felt like I was just reading another chapter of the book I'd just finished.
Today in Chicago, it's front-page news that Oprah Winfrey tore Frey a new one on her show, especially since she'd come out in support of him via phone on Larry King. (In today's print edition of the Trib, the story gets top billing, above Hamas' gains in the Palestinian parliament.)
I suppose I can see why – he's a mega-bestselling author, she's Oprah, and for her to switch sides on him is probably a really big deal by entertainment-news standards, especially since she made him famous in the first place. But it still feels like an utterly calculated political move on her part, pretty much worthy of a squib in the Tempo section: "Winfrey catches up to popular opinion, joins literary lynch mob." Then again, I tend to be of the opinion that most celeb news deserves, at best, a protracted yawn and eye-roll. Well, except for Chris Penn's death, which I'm definitely bummed about.
That aside, the most interesting thing about the Frey business to me is that his publisher has apparently said that subsequent editions of the book will come with author and publisher notes, and may have some content edited. I'm actually kind of looking forward to that edition. What could those notes possibly say that Frey hasn't already said, weakly and unconvincingly? What could they possibly change to make the book read as more truthful, except the "non-fiction" stamp on the back? More importantly, will Frey eventually come out with a highly fictionalized memoir about how all the trauma of exposure started him drinking and doping again, and he eventually fell back on the 12-step program to rescue him after all?