Monday, January 30, 2006

#1 on the NY Times Best Seller List

For the last three weeks, January 15, January 22, January 29, Jared Diamond's incredible "Collapse" has actually been the #1 bestselling nonfiction paperback in the country -- but has been listed as #2 behind James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces". Which is a work of fiction, whatever Frey's claims about the "emotional truth" of the book. And as Arianna Huffington says, " bestseller lists, as in life, there is a big difference between being #1 and #2 -- both in terms of book sales and public perception."

Who could have imagined....?

Larry Johnson, terrorism analyst and former CIA agent, "There she goes again. Miss "Who Could Have Imagined an Al Qaeda Attack" Rice has struck again. Are you kidding me? Secretary of State Rice was "surprised" by the election results in Palestine? According to the New York Times: "Ms. Rice pointed out that the election results surprised just about everyone. "I don't know anyone who wasn't caught off guard by Hamas's strong showing," she said on her way to London for meetings on the Middle East."

Condi doesn't know anyone? How about Johnson and lots of other Middle-East analysts? Larry wrote in December, "We are unwilling to come to grips with a very simple truth -- the majority of people in the Middle East prefer an Islamic rather than a secular government. Economic development does not ensure a steady march towards a secular, diverse society. Heavens (irony intended) just look at us. Despite our economic prowess and alleged sophistication, religious fundamentalists in our own country have succeeded in bringing great pressure to bear on our government and our media."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Macho, macho man, I wanna be...

Read James Frey's book "A Million Little Pieces" a few weeks ago for a book club. At the meeting, I was one of the three out of fourteen who thought Frey had some major truthiness issue. I made a fool of myself, proclaiming, "My cousin was addicted to meth and HE did shameful things. Like begging his dealer to screw his girlfriend for a free fix. And leaving the apartment and walking around in the rain while the dealer screwed her. Thinking the whole time was how bad he wanted that meth." The other people, all but one of them women, listened attentively. "Not like Frey -- who does all kinds of things that you and I would find shameful, but from a young guy's point of view, they're NOT. Frey beat the shit out of anyone who got in his face. He screwed cute chicks every few pages in the book. He won every argument he was in. He says he's ashamed but I think he's proud of what he did."

There was a polite silence. The next commenter acknowledged what I had said in about 3 words and then moved on.

We ALL agreed it was a great book. Here's the write up by the very well-read Brit hostess of the evening, "...the media had just exploded with outrage that some parts of the book may be exaggerated or *gasp!* made up!!! Did we care? In the end, we decided not. This was an excellent and thought-provoking book, written in a unique style that brilliantly conveyed the author's mindset as he struggled through withdrawal. Although some found a few of the stylistic tics wearisome, and others didn't care for the 'love element' bit towards the end, all were very glad to have read the book and have an opportunity to discuss with others."

But after watching Oprah maul Frey for daring to lie to her and especially for brazenly denying that he was lieing and MOST especially for trying to cloak the denial in the accepted literary subterfuge of proclaiming that names and events and people had been changed but had "emotional truth"... I'd say the conventional wisdom about James Frey has changed. His editor, Nan Something, looked even more the fool by saying that she'd accepted it all at face value, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More something to do something about...

Katie Couric pulls a Deborah Howell . Which is fine, as long as she does what she promises, which is to follow up on her assertion that Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans. When Howard Dean told her "Not one dime.", Katie sighed, pulled a face and stated authoritatively, "We'll have to look into that." We'll see if she does. Here's where to write if she doesn't: or call 212-664-4249.

Or better yet, write/call NBC's ombudsman:

Katie was tough on Howard Dean. Nothing wrong with that. But to claim that the indian tribes defrauded by Jack Abramoff giving money to Democrats is the same thing as Bush-Pioneer Jack Abramoff giving money to Democrats is ridiculous. Especially since those tribes gave less money to Dems after they hired Abramoff than they did before. Oddly enough, the tribes doubled, tripled and quadrupled their giving to the GOP after hiring Abramoff.

And Chris Matthews pulls his 100th Deborah Howell.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Weirdly enough, you CAN do something!

When you see a jaw-dropping lie in the traditional media -- you CAN do something about it. Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell stated in a column published January 15 that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties."

A few hundred people commented on a Washington Post blog. The Post was shocked, shocked, shocked by the harsh language some of the posters used so they shut their blog down. The commenters had pointed out that if you tell a lie, that makes you a liar. Ouch! How harsh!

Debbie has since recanted. She admits that Jack Abramoff, Bush Pioneer and contributor of $100s of thousands of dollars to GOP causes and not one penny to Democratic candidates hasn't "made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties." But it took her a whole week and several denials that she'd said any such thing.

Here's what's really brought her around. Google! If you google 'Washington Post', the whole unsavory controversy came up! And that's not what the Washington Post wants you to see when you google their name! So help the Washington Post keep doing the right thing by going to this site or here, Newport, Oregon writer Jane Hamsher's blog firedoglake.