Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oprah and Frey

On another note, Oprah and Frey. Finally.

Maureen Dowd was on Countdown with Keith Oberman discussing and she reported that the NY Times newsroom was riveted, as was I. I'll post the link to the transcript when available. She of course lobs off a few zingers on Bush and his repulsive spontaneous press conference today (which pre-empted Oprah in some major markets, including Chicago). A subsequent guest, Seth Mnookin of Vanity Fair, spoke of his concern that readers didn't feel betrayed even after the smoking gun report and that the made up facts didn't matter to them because the central truths still resonated with them. He believes the reason that the central truths "still spoke to them" is because its a book in which every character is a cliche and so the tale (lie) feeds into people's preconceived notions about addiction and treatment. A book is popular and resonates and sells thanks to its cliches. Ugh.

Nan Talese the publisher at Doubleday made clear that the industry only cares about not being sued - not about the truth. Nice civic responsibilty.

In case you missed the excellent perspective Kakutani, the New York Times reviewer, added to the debate, you can read it here. (I had a hard time finding it). She takes swipes at the right and the left and touches on the problems I had with postmodernist thinking I encountered in law school. She also hints at what I see is the Democrats handicap in dealing with Bush. Bush has co-opted very effectively the impossibility of objective truth. That idea invaded, to much detriment, literature and history departments in universities across this country decades ago and is now entrenched. My frustration with my professors at Vassar who embraced this relativistic outlook is what deterred me from a profession in academia. Bush has hung the left on its own petard, and I don't sense that's even percieved yet.

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