Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lies, Denial, Drydrunks et al....

Mommy, what was honesty? Well dear, it used to mean truth or fact. It used to be used to judge the character of people. It had more to do with morality back then - you used to believe when someone said something to you that it was true.

How do you explain these values, this "morality" to children when we now live in a rat's nest of lies and deceit. It's coming from all sides and sadly now the exception to the rule is truth.

Excerpt from New York Observer article by Tom Scocca:

"Mr. Frey is not the only person pouring this cocktail of lies and denial—of “emotional truth.” More than one critic quickly picked up on the link between Mr. Frey’s literary career and the fact-averse, spin-happy presidency of George W. Bush. The joint biography is easy. Both men are dry drunks with belligerent streaks, angry and cosseted children of money. Both claim to have turned their self-destructive lives around without formal 12-step treatment, through the power of mass-market personal spirituality—pop Taoism for Mr. Frey, evangelical Christianity for Mr. Bush. Both have awkward gaps in their paper trails.

But the real bond between them is conceptual. The argument for A Million Little Pieces is identical in structure to the argument for the Iraq War: Because of my project, countless [addicts/Iraqis] now know unimagined [inspiration/liberty]—what kind of person would want to take that away by niggling about details that don’t even matter anymore?


"Hold On,” says Mr. Frey, in his recovery mantra. “We’ll stay the course; we’ll complete the job,” says Mr. Bush.
That’s the game. Emotional truth is not a property of the story or the storyteller. Emotional truth works on the audience. Emotional truth is the name for the thing that sells.

From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August,” said Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, describing in 2002 how the administration rolled out its campaign for the war. It was emotionally true, at the time, that Iraq’s nuclear weapons were an unacceptable threat to the United States. “Threat” was the concept that the market was ready to hear. The mushroom cloud. Sept. 11. A new Sept. 11, but with a mushroom cloud.
Politics is commerce. Literature is commerce. Religion is commerce. Identity is commerce. The sales campaign keeps moving, without regard for internal consistency. JT LeRoy sold books because he was an authentic outsider voice, a damaged teen boy prostitute who could turn his real experience into powerful fiction. Then, as people began asking pointedly about who JT LeRoy was, he became a more ambiguous figure—a fragile transsexual for whom confusion was shelter. When he was revealed to be an outright hoax, “JT LeRoy” became a conceptual prank about celebrity and identity.

Weapons of mass destruction … weapons-of-mass-destruction-related program activities. Emotional truth doesn’t have to endure. It only has to last as long as it takes for the check to clear, for the ballots to be counted, for the money-back guarantee to expire.


So Jack Abramoff could tell the Times Magazine that his Indian clients got “value”—when he was collecting money from one tribe to fight against a gambling ban he had originally pushed through on behalf of a rival tribe in the next state over. The proof was that they were willing to pay. “If a tribe spends millions of dollars to protect billions of dollars,” Mr. Abramoff said, “that doesn’t make them saps!



THE SAP IS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES NOWADAYS
. Nobody is a gullible target anymore. Even if they’ve been gulled. In her Jan. 13 column, Liz Smith defended Mr. Frey (“one of my favorite writers”) against charges that “his hot novel [sic] … is not entirely truthful as a piece of nonfiction.”

This article is worth the read: http://www.observer.com/20060123/20060123_Tom_Scocca_pageone_coverstory1.asp

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