Steven D. Levitt Finds “One more reason to love Oprah”

But I can’t buy it. The only reason I can see for Oprah’s 180 on James Frey – after defending him on Larry King – is that she felt the backlash swelling among her fans.  Link: Freakonomics Blog.
This whole controversy could mean tough times for the memoir industry. Memoirists have been making shit up for years since the demise of fiction’s primacy under the rubric of "emotional truth".  Frey got a little too greedy in his exaggerations, now publishers appear to be expected to vet books the way journalism is vetted.* (Sometimes vetted anyway. Hunter S. Thompson made up stuff up too.) All because some readers were foolish enough to expect that books labeled as nonfiction should contain no fiction. Foolish foolish public spoiling the fun. But sarcasm aside, the inability to sell one’s fiction for the higher advances memoirs offer seems to me too poor an excuse to represent fiction as fact.

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*Or maybe not, Via Maud Newton, here’s a Wall Street Journal Article: Publishers Say Fact-Checking Is Too Costly.

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