When Oprah hates you

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

James Frey, author of "A Million Little Pieces," has done something no one in their right mind would dare do -- anger Oprah.

Yes, Oprah Winfrey. THE Oprah.

The woman whose big toe will one day create a cure for cancer. The woman who could wipe the giraffe population off the face of the planet if she were to wake up one day and decide giraffes no longer amused her. Yeah, that Oprah.

Now that Frey has gotten on her bad side, he might as well give up. Because when you lie about being a drug addict to Oprah, she'll hate you, and society will too. It's really quite simple.

Just weeks before it was chosen by Oprah as a "must-read," I bought a copy of it for myself. I got about half-way through before the poor sentence structure and grammatical errors made me want to rip the book into, well, a million little pieces. (Being a journalism major and growing up with two teachers for parents, you notice these kinds of things.)

It doesn't really bother me how he's made millions of dollars off of a lie. I mean, he did write it and even continued searching for a publisher after being rejected more than a dozen times. He was determined, and that's a respectable characteristic to have. Now maybe lying isn't, but in the cut-throat world of business, money and fame, sometimes you've got to be a little sneaky. I should know. I'm 19, a veteran of sneakiness.

What amazes me is how one person, Oprah, can simply say how she likes a book and the huddled masses flock to bookstores nationwide and buy it. Think about how much power she has. If she mentions your product, you have it made. Absolutely everyone watches her show. It's like there's no specific age group or race. A white person who hates black people probably sits down to watch Oprah, because Oprah isn't black. She's Oprah.

Now maybe I'm not disappointed in Frey simply because you have to respect a guy that can blatantly lie to Oprah and the rest of us commonfolk. That takes a lot of nerve. And you've got to feel a little sorry for him. I mean, come on, as a guy imagine how you'd feel if Oprah, a woman with about 30 million other women on her side, said she was disappointed in you. As of that moment, 30 million women across the country would refuse to date you.

"Hey, I was wondering if we could go out sometime."

"You're the guy that Oprah hates, right?"

"Um, yeah."

"Sorry, I don't date losers."

Luckily for Frey, he's already married, but his future with society is looking pretty bleak at the moment. Now maybe his inevitable bout of depression will lead him to drugs. And that's what we wanted all along, wasn't it?

Oh great, it's just been announced Oprah hates hens. So much for scrambled eggs this morning.

Contact Sam at sdereign@ semissourian.com

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