Thursday, February 16, 2006
Liz Smith Wrong About James Frey
I really like Liz Smith. She's an old school columnist (I wouldn't even really call her a gossip columnist) who befriends celebrities she likes and offers up facts they want to share with their fans as scoops. Smith is a safe haven and far more likely to champion a movie/play/actor/writer she likes than to diss someone she doesn't. But Smith is wrong about James Frey. She blithely compares Frey's lies in his memoirs to reality TV and says, "If James Frey suffered because of creative license in writing of his own life, why should TV call something "real" when it is not?" She writes that reality TV shows have scripts and writers and edit events to tell a story -- but none of that is really a secret. Frey didn't use "creative license" to tell his story. He LIED about his story. The equivalent would be if people watching the MTV reality show Laguna Beach found out the kids really lived in Nebraska and were shipped in just for the taping. That's what Frey did: concoct a complete lie. Please, "memoir" is not a synonym for "I made it all up." And "reality TV" is not a synonym for hard-hitting documentary, but egregious lies would be wrong there too.