Friday, January 27, 2006

Bird Flu 2 and Oprah Makes James Frey Choose a Big Switch

By sheer coincidence, I happened to hear an NPR podcast of a great report from 12/28 on bird flu panic that puts the realities in great perspective.

Most telling was this detail:

The expert that made Oprah go all nutty the other day based his theories entirely on the notion that we are overdue for a pandemic. In this report from 12/28, the experts NPR interviews say that's as ridiculous as assuming a roulette wheel or slot machine is due to pay off. Every year is an individual event, just as every spin of the wheel is.

There is cause for concern, of course, but not for panic. Never for panic.

However, if you do want to panic, get yourself a tape of what happened on Oprah's show yesterday, as she took that James Frey guy to the woodshed for a solid hour. It was humiliating to both of them. The idea that she is somehow owed a televised hour or ritualistic apology by him, his publisher and half the literary world is typical of her hubris. It was nauseating and hilarious at the same time.

As my friend, who had not followed this national crisis at all, said to me, "Didn't Oprah know that a memoir is usually at least half made up?" Yeah, she should have known that.

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