Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Importance of "the Truth"

In light of the recent James Frey mega-controversy, I thought that this was an interesting issue. Furthermore, David Kopel posted this uplifting story at Volokh earlier today.

Thus I pose the question to my millions of readers, and especially commenters: How significant is it that an uplifting story or a tale of redemption is actually true?

I understand that there are definite problems with a story that masquerades as truth. But if a story is meant to be inspirational, is it a prerequisite that it is true (clearly not, there are tons of uplifting works of fiction...I guess I am talking more about quasi-fiction stories)? So many people were touched by Frey's "true" story. Was the "truth" of it that important or was the content itself much more significant? For example, if he had admitted that his work was "inspired by true events," would that have been ok? I don't know, does anyone else have any thoughts about this?


  1. You can't handle the truth. Check out this article.


  2. Yeah Rich - I've thought about this a bit too. So he embellished his memoirs. Big deal. What if he had called the work fiction. Wouldn't it have touched all the same people?

    If, on the other hand, he were a political figure then I think that lies would be much more important.

  3. No one lies to Oprah and lives! No one!

    Honestly though, the whole thing got way too much press if you ask me... Who gives a fuck? The cat is a total hack, and it was only the Oprah PR machine that popularized him in the first place, so really, the truth value of his book, as RG mentions, has little to do with his success.

    Anyway, I attended an A Million Little Pieces book burning last night down on Fuhrerstrasse, by the green. It was great. We also burned Danish cartoons. And images of Terri Schiavo. Well, that is to say, I burned AN image... Ah, nevermind, this obviously never really happened...