Thursday, January 12, 2006

Oprah Winfrey and James Frey

Oprah Winfrey doesn't believe her own press. "Be your best self." I think that is the pablum she sells to the public. What nonsense. She clearly doesn't believe one word of it.

James Frey is the author of an alleged memoir entitled "A MillionLittle Pieces." The book is the story of his drug addiction. Frey appeared on Oprah and was a featured author for her book club.

The website Smoking Gun looked into Frey's claims of arrests and incarcerations. It turned out that Frey lied, a lot. Apparently he is a pretty average addict, a self-aggrandizing liar. He may be a decent writer but he is also a con man too. Like I said, a typical addict.

Frey appeared on Larry King Live last night to defend his lies. Oprah called in to the show and said that she stands by the book.

And I feel about "A Million Little Pieces" that although some of the facts have been questioned -- and people have a right to question, because we live in a country that lets you do that, that the underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me. And I know that it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book and will continue to read this book.

Redemption? Excuse me, but lying is Addiction 101. What kind of redemption is it to make a living out of being a liar? Frey is probably still using and drinking. He is just a dog and Oprah would have been better off if she had said nothing at all.

Frey could have written the true story of his addiction. Perhaps the lack of embellishments would have kept if from becoming a best seller, but so what. Someone truly in recovery wouldn't care. Actually a writer in recovery would have written a novel. Yes, he could have honestly embellished an addict's story.

In any case, here are the 12 Steps that Frey, and Oprah, clearly don't care about but ought to know by heart.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Gee, where does one begin? Number 10 jumps out at me. Frey and Oprah need to think long and hard about that one. They are both wrong and they need to admit it.