Def: o'kay ter'ri'fic: 1.common expression of muted astonishment due to being surrounded by amazing stupidity, without quite knowing what else to say. 2.expression that usually precedes the changing of a subject brought up by an individual who is perfectly clueless to anything or anyone outside their own narcissistic corner of the universe. Origin: Unknown

Location: Bergen County, New Jersey, United States

Steven Hill is the author of the independently published A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN, available at www.lulu.com/holbrookhill, or Amazon or B&N.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Oprah and The Power of Genre-Bending

I have to chime in one more time about this James Frey debacle, particularly in reference to Oprah Winfrey's response to it all.

Now I have nothing against Oprah. Matter of fact, I think she's an amazing entrepeneur. But this time she's gone too far. To sit back and put her stamp of approval on a bunch of lies and deceit... does anyone realize what she's done here?

We all know the power she has over the publishing world. Her golden scepter of approval can turn any book into a bestseller. Those who know this best are the publishing houses who benefit from her knighting of their books. Bottom line is bottom line after all, right?

Oprah must realize her own power as well, wouldn't you think? Did she stop and consider that her standing behind James Frey would literally change the face of publishing? From this point forward, it is no longer necessary to tell the truth in a Memoir. You only have to tell the 'essential truth'. The details are insignificant.

No longer will the reading public be able to rely on the Memoir as a truthful document, especially if the pubs and authors put their little disclaimer on them as Frey is now conveniently doing on his. From this point forward, we will always be second guessing whether we are reading a True Memoir or an Essential Truth Memoir.

Do you understand what has happened here?

By throwing her weight behind this liar with one simple ill-thought out sentence, Oprah has single handedly changed an entire Genre. Memoirs RIP.

It wasn't long ago, in fact the summer of 2004, that Norma Khoury was exposed by The Sydney Herald as a liar and a cheat. What was the response? The publishers pulled her false memoir and actually sought to recoup some of the 6-figures they threw at her.

What a difference a year makes! Have we lost our honesty and integrity so swiftly?

Oprah, have you lost yours completely?

But maybe in the end it’s not about silly things like honesty and truthfulness. Maybe it is all about power and money. If so, Oprah has just upped the ante.

Okay, Terrrific.



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