Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Monday, January 29, 2007

January 29, 2007: Celebrehab Update

It's just another manic Monday in the celeb-scape. Start of the week is a perfect time for a celeb recap, don't you think? That's why I am giving two sound bytes and a trip down a faded red carpet to Scott Lamb for his Salon article Welcome to Celebrehab, which recounts the latest gaggle of wayward stars, their sins, apologies, treatment, and potential next steps.

My favorite is the blurb on James Frey, "memoirist" and one-time Oprah book-club darling, who was banished from the kingdom (and Oprah's couch) after his lies were exposed. This one touches a nerve with me more than the rest. It's one thing to make clear that your memoir might include fabricated or exaggerated tales. It's another to state explicitly that every word is gospel, which is what Frey did, and why Oprah and many readers invested themselves in him, not just his story, and were so upset. Scott's update on James and his million little lies:

Sin: Fictionalizing huge swaths of "A Million Little Pieces," his bestselling memoir of addiction -- and then, even after the Smoking Gun had exposed him, going on Larry King Live to maintain his lies.
Apology: In a squirm-inducing "Oprah" appearance, Frey spun his misdeeds this way: "I think part of what happened with a number of things in the book is when you go through an experience like the one I went through, you develop different coping mechanisms, and I think one of the coping mechanisms I developed was sort of this image of myself that was probably greater than -- not probably, it was greater than I actually was." He later expanded that theme into a 900-plus-word letter of apology to his readers, which will now appear in every newly published copy of "AMLP."
Treatment: Can't go back for more "treatment" -- no one hates full-of-shit addicts like legitimate addicts!
Result: According to the terms of a lawsuit settlement reached with 12 angry readers, Frey and his publisher, Random House, agreed to pay $2.35 million -- to "cover the cost of refunding customers, the lawyers' fees for both sides and a yet-to-be-specified donation to charity." Non-litigious readers are also eligible for a refund: Send Page 163 of the hardcover to Random House and you'll get a check for $23.95; send the front cover of the paperback and you'll receive $14.95.

So if you are still angry about being duped (and it might be time to move on) learn from Jossip how to claim your Frey refund from Random House.


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