Thursday, May 11, 2006

this all seems so familiar...

A little trip down memory lane...
You might remember our discussion concerning Mr. James Frey and his book of little white lies...,er I mean memoir. From one of those discussions I stated:

I notice that the publisher is not pulling the book anytime soon, and it appears sales have not slowed down. Give it a month- it's too early to tell from sales figures yet. It'll happen.

Well here is an update, from an MSNBC report:

Frey has acknowledged that major sections of "Million Little Pieces," his million-selling memoir of addiction and recovery that Oprah Winfrey endorsed, then ridiculed, were fabricated. Some of the revelations, first reported by the investigative Web site The Smoking Gun, also raised doubts about "My Friend Leonard."
Frey now acknowledges that "significant" parts of "My Friend Leonard," a best-selling story about his friendship with a gangster, were also invented....
"My Friend Leonard" was published last year by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA that has reportedly dropped the author.

Dropped Frey? That can't be good. That is definitely not headed in the right direction for Frey. I don't bring this up for an I told you so, inasmuch as I want to update you on this ongoing story. Ok- and I told you so. Can you find the book still? Sure. Are there droves of people buying the book. Not so much.
Now add to the list the recent deciet of Kaavya Viswanathan.
She claimed she unintentionally "borrowed" material from the works of author Megan McCafferty. "Borrowed"? I have always taught that ideas and creativity are not "borrowed", but built upon. If a student writes a paper, it is their duty to acknowledge that which they have built upon, and add their own spark of ideas and thoughts to it and make it carry on. That which holds for historical papers- should hold true for fiction, but perhaps in a different manner. I have seen some novels that acknowledge some help or material in author's notes, etc. However, actually lifting the same phrasing, ideas, etc. is different. It's difficult to see any excuse from Ms. Viswanathan, an admitted fan of the works of Ms. McCafferty, that actually hold water without indicating some sort of guilt. Borrowing indicates that there is something that can be returned. Once she lifted the material and claimed it as her own, the material can no longer be "returned." The fame was difficult for Ms. Viswanathan to handle. The infamy will even be harder. The question now, is what will this young women do with this? Will she learn and overcome, or will she continue down the same path?
I question whether our society even really knows what truth is, much less where to find it. We have bent the very definition of truth to suit our own needs, our own vanity, our own slant on life. And at the same time we insulate ourselves from the deceit that hits too close to home. So much so that we fail to recognize it. Deep down- once we get past our own biases, politics, etc.- I think we know where truth lies. Inside we know.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I hold myself in contempt! Why should you be any different?

1 comment:

Wolf Flywheel said...

I think that by now someone's pants are on fire.


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