Tuesday, January 17, 2006

FREYed Reputations

Everyone must be yawning tired about posts and comments about the shocking revelations du jour regarding JimBob Frey.
Just about everyone who's anyone - and lots and lots of us who are not - have expressed their revulsion/contempt/exculpation/cynicism/support for JimBoy.
It was the Wave.
Receeding as we speak.
With the dawning realization that the aforementioned revulsion/contempt/exculpation etc., and muttering in the mustaches and mumbling in the beards, will not affect anything in the slightest.
Frey will go on to sell another million copies of his "memoir" - piece by piece.
But one thing in the expose list caught my eye.
It seems he clearly describes a beaver - but calls it an otter.
Laughed myself sick.
And no one, no one in the entire process, agent, editor(s), proof reader, whoever, caught it.
They should have.
I don't claim this because the beaver is iconically Canadian - who pays any attention to Canada? - but because a beaver really is a well-known and familar symbol. Even in literature, even in uber-urban New York. Something like a penguin.
This whole kerfuffle has led to the usual outrage about the "state of the publishing industry" - its moral ineptitude, its malfeasance, its disregard ( mustaches and beards, which see.)
And so on and on and on.
One fact remains. Unteetered and untottered.
They are the Gatekeepers, three-headed or not.
Suck it up.


AE Rought said...

Okay. When my big novel gets picked up, will YOU edit for me??? :)

Dennie McDonald said...

Beaver, beaver... hmm - the only ones I have in my books are "clearly" described/defined - OMG - that was sooooo very wrong - a little sleep does the brain a world of good.

Yes - I can be tasteless too - a house full of testosterone - has warped me, me thinks!

Rick said...

A contrarian voice!

This is first-person novel about a junkie, peddled as a memoir about a junkie. Either way, it's about a junkie. Maybe in our protagonist's milieu he really doesn't know the difference between an otter and a beaver. Or, as Dennie pretty broadly hints, in the protagonist's world, "beaver" has nothing to do with cute little woodland creatures. ;)

So whether "fact" or fiction, no one would read this book expecting factual knowledge of wildlife, any more than they should read The Da Vinci Code expecting factual information about Mary Magdalen or the Catholic Church.

Bernita said...

Sure. But c'mon, girl, YOU would never be that dumb.

Dennie, are you offering to show us your beaver?
~warp one, warp two...Captain, this ship is out of control!~

Dennie McDonald said...

uh - no - I think I'll pass on that

but thanks for asking - I think

AE Rought said...

"YOU would never be that dumb." Well, that is true... :P

As to the play on words with "beaver," I am abstaining. That's dancing on the edge of the entire 'bathtub sex' thing...

Bernita said...

Rick, beaver are not "cute little woodland creatures."
Sorry, but I expect, in my picayune corner, that the accuracy of the wild life to match the accuracy of the "wildlife."
I did point out that I was a "no one," did I not?

Ric said...

I knew it was only a matter of time before this blog got out of control. Soooooooooo very wrong and Bernita stoking (stroking) the fire by requesting dennie reveal her beaver.

Apparently everyone at the publishing house went down on this one. Probably chose not to get involved in this mess of a book at all.

I haven't read it (not to my taste)but I suspect Frey is not even an addict. Have a friend who got drunk once, declared himself an alcoholic and uses it as a badge of honor and excuse.

AND - we are in awe of Canadian Beavers. The fur is soooooo soft.

Bernita said...

According to the search analysis on my stats, there's an awfull lot of people interested in that whole "bathtub sex" lavalicious thing.

Bernita said...

Rick just hit Warp Three...

Rick said...

Bernita - Any temperate-zone land mammal that could appear as a sympathetic character in a Disney cartoon - or in Narnia, for that matter - is a cute little woodland creature.

So there!

PS - Ric without a K hit Warp Three. I'm still tooling along at sublight, thank you very much. :>

Savannah Jordan said...

"According to the search analysis on my stats, there's an awfull lot of people interested in that whole "bathtub sex" lavalicious thing."

Send them my way!! hehehe

btw, Did you read the latest para from that story I posted over there? Been kind of curious as to your reaction. Although, with all the traffic you have over here, it doesn't surprise me that you haven't made it over there. :)

Bernita said...

Oh no, Rick, the ship's accelerating, Ric is warp four.
These people with double blogs confuse me, Savannah. I'll abandon ship temporarily and 'port over.

R.J. Baker said...

A Million Little Pieces, #1 on Amazon...need I say more.

Ric said...

Beam me up, Scotty. The life forms on this planet are gnawing on my equipment.

Bernita said...

No, R.J., but we'd like it if you did.

Captain to transporter room: "Get a lock on the away team, the leader's been abusing the natives again."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

ROFLMAO!!!! Boy, did this conversation run off into the ditch! And then, in my sinus blurred condition, I thought Dennie said a "mouth full of testosterone...LOL!!

Bernita, I luv' ya' girlfriend!!! And not just for this coffee snorting thread, but for your stock. I bought all you available stock on Blogshares and now I have $1.4 mil of stock in you, my friend!

Bernita said...

Bonnie, I love you too. You are one of the dearest people in this blogverse.

But...not touching this blogshares business with a ten-foot pole.Not in my present giddy mood anyway.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Anybody who's read Michener's Alaska knows what an otter is.

Bernita said...

And anyone ( apparently) who has watched Disney should know what a beaver is. And not call it an otter.

Rick said...

I am still contrarian about this, because even if Frey had sold the book honestly as fiction, he would still have been under no writerly obligation to get beavers and otters right. It is a book about junkies in a (presumably) urban milieu, who have likely never seen either one, and are too addled to remember any Disney cartoons they saw.

Compare to the several people here who write fiction in settings alien to their own experience - hist-fic or SF/F. In those genres we expect writers to do their research - if your story happens in medieval Scotland, don't have characters traipsing around in clan tartans invented by 19th c. antiquarians, etc.

But what research obligation does a writer dealing with their own milieu have? So far as I can see, only to portray that milieu accurately, which may require no formal research. The writer has no obligation to get things right that people in the milieu often don't.

Bernita said...

So you are saying that if a writer posits himself as a junkie he bears absolutely no responsibility except to pink elephants.
Yet, as I understand it, this book is about recall, written when he was allegedly dried out, therefore I still suggest it is an egregious stupidity.

Rick said...

Bernita - No, not just to pink elephants, but to the overall context of the world he is writing about. After all, Frey himself obviously didn't know the difference, or he wouldn't have made the mistake - and as you mention, no one in the editorial chain caught it either.

This may say quite a bit about what New Yorkers know about the world beyond the outer suburbs, but it's something I wouldn't particularly expect a book dealing with that milieu to get right. Or be concerned if it didn't. The real problems with Frey's book are of a whole other order.

Bernita said...

Agreed that since neither of us have read, nor are likely to read, the whole book,we lack a certain context.
Agreed that it is a very, very minor point, a mere straw of a point, and there are larger issues at hand.
However,this item amused me to no end and I chose to blog about it in passing to lead up to my main point - while tossing mild aspersions hither and yon - that this latest "scandal" will likely alter nothing in the publishing world many of us are beavering away to enter.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

considering Freay was supposed to be a cocaine junkie at the time, it probably wasn't a beaver or an otter, but a big, city rat.

You've heard the saying...or maybe you haven't..."Our neighborhood's so classey, we've got rats as big as Lassie!"

archer said...

Speaking as a black woman who rose through the all-white and all-Italian ranks of the Federated Bricklayers of Rome in the 1930's, and who braved Mussolini's thugs to establish myself as Maestra Prima Layere di Bricci,hated for the color of my skin, for my skill with a trowel, and for my stunning good looks yet feared throughout Fascist Italy for my power and my ruthlessness, I think people should stop picking on Frey.

Rick said...

Bernita - Well, I'd be tempted to say that Frey is just plain dumber than a brick, but the obvious rejoinder would be that he is riding the short bus all the way to the bank.

You read my mind, too, because I almost mentioned context. As you guessed, I'm certainly not gonna read the thing looking for ... otter.

If he really peddled it originally as a novel, isn't that the most morbidly funny thing about this whole episode? Because as a novel it didn't sell. For all we know, Miss Snark herself may have glanced at his synopsis and five pages, and sent her form rejection before reaching for the gin pail.

(Hmmm, is that why Miss Snark has gone dark this week, instead of immediately after subjecting herself to 100 Crapometer entries?)

Fiction has standards, except when written (sic) by Nicole Ritchie. "Nonfiction" apparently does not. Aliens can appear in Chapter 12, or at least otter dams can, and makes no matter, because it is Based On A True Story.

From the snippet of your work, and what I gather of the works of posters here, we are probably all fairly safe from the ethical temptation of passing off our stuff as nonfiction. Though standards being what they evidently aren't, you never know.

Alas, though, I don't think your experiences in medieval Scotland are the sort of thing that Oprah goes in for. So you'd be fighting for shelf space with UFO abductees and similar riffraff.

Bernita said...

I'm pretty sure there are rats there somewhere, Bonnie.

Principessa has entered the AfFREY with brickbats and is trowelling it on...

England, Rick, Durham, to be exact, near by the River Tees, not Scotland. Not doing the Highlander stuff. Though I do have designs on Toward Castle.
Otters don't make dams. Beavers do. They get blown up sometimes.

Rick said...

Bernita - My bad on Scotland; I just remembered (don't I?) you mentioning Scots names. And don't worry - I don't think otters build dams! That's why I classed it with aliens in Chapter 12.

Bernita said...

I suspected you did, Rick, but I'm programmed to earnestly mention those things.

MissWrite said...

you know, how funny is this? I just had a recent encounter with an irritatingly similar problem to the Frey issue and I didn't even equate the two. But big name authors aren't the only ones that do things similar to this. If you read my blog for today you'll probably see what I mean. Some people, I guess figure, if you don't actually have anything interesting to say, or be... invent it.

The problem is, someone will eventually find out, then what are you? Nothing AND a liar.


Bernita said...

Glad to see you, Miss Write.
Had a similar experience.

MissWrite said...

I suppose, sadly, most of us 'been around awhile' peeps, have had such things.

Well, big or small 'frey', (pardon the mixed pun) they all fall the same way... down.

Bernita said...

Ihave seen both the "suggestio falsi" and the "supressio veri" type (quoting Kipling again) but not too many of the outright liar.

MissWrite said...

Wouldn't you say that not calling "suggestio falsi" an outright liar is kind of splitting hairs?

Is it less of a lie to 'suggest' a lie? LOL

Bernita said...

No, I can't make it quite so black and white.The listener bears responsibility for how they understand a suggestion or an inference. Should I tell you my mother was a Black,I am telling you the literal truth. You, however, might infer I was of afro-american descent. If I did not perceive how you might interpret my comment and I did not add the caveat that Black was her maiden name, when you met me you might think I was a convicted liar.

MissWrite said...

LOL, ah, that's semantics, not a lie. Not really trying to argue with you though.

Oh, and as to the 'beaver/otter' thing, I'd go easy on the 'watchdogs' of publishing, probably most of them (or readers) don't know the difference either. Maybe only Canadians really do. Heehee.

I know I'd probably be quite perplexed should one ever cross my path.

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