Friday, January 13, 2006


According to a panel of linguists, "truthiness" is the word of the year for 2005. Stephen Colbert gave us this gem on "The Colbert Report" and defines it as "truth that wouldn't stand to be held back by facts." The AP article says it's "the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts." The linguists made a damn good choice.

I've been following the story about James Frey's memoir "A Million Little Pieces" and the recent brouhaha bacause of evidence turned up by that he invented and/or embellished much of the content of the book. I first heard about it over Christmas while in Houston. My father-in-law's girlfriend's son and wife told us about it, and it's story of a raging alcoholic/drug addict/criminal and his journey to straighten out his life. Oprah made it her book of the month and, big surprise, it sold millions. Now, Frey, and Oprah, have had to come out and defend the book, saying there is an "essential truth" and that it can help people.

That may very well be true. But it doesn't erase the Fact that he made stuff up. In my world, that takes it from being a memoir to a work of fiction. Oh well, with truthiness on his side, who's going to stop Mr. Frey? And Oprah's reputation and book club, what comes of them? Probably nothing, as the nation does what it's been doing these last couple of years--gives a collective shrug and goes back to shopping and watching a new VH1 special about the last 5 minutes.

Who's going to call him what he is: a liar? Should I expect tough questions from Larry King? Of course not, because they might cause his heart rate to rise ever so slightly, which would bring out his doctor to proclaim another heart attack. And you just know Oprah must have given Frey an earful as she has to defend him, and by association, herself.

This whole truthiness thing is bad. There are lots of people lying out there. The worst ones all seem to come from here. When it's resident publicly proclaims that he is breaking the law and will continue to do so, we're fucked. As the media and pundits opine upon the predicament, they skirt around the Fact that a special court exists to approve wiretaps and that they can even be approved up to 72 hours after the tap was initiated. They ignore the Fact that this court has rarely, in thousands of cases, denied approval of a tap. Meanwhile, apologists begin to promote the idea that in the War on Terror, breaking the law is "maybe... part of the job" of the president.

Please excuse me while I vomit myself to death and watch this country, which you and I may bitch about much more than we praise it but it is still better than probably 95% of the other countries on this rock, flush itself down the crapper.


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