Why the Frey Fake Memoir Scandal Matters

Oh I love it when Gawker does in-depth analysis.

You know what? The media coverage IS really irritating. But it’s also necessary, albeit for very specific reasons. On a big, naive level, it’s about realizing that cheaters do win. You should already know that, though. On another level, this is really about books and the publishing industry. Memoirists embellish their narratives; to believe otherwise makes you a complete fucktard, especially when most authors say as much in their notes.

Plus, they blame Oprah.

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4 comments for “Why the Frey Fake Memoir Scandal Matters

  1. January 13, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Man, we’re getting some serious mileage out of this. I’m glad I read both books before the scandal broke.

  2. January 14, 2006 at 9:57 am

    Have you thought of how the same issue might surface with respect to pseudonymous blogs? I consider that a little bit here: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/siva/archives/002655.html

  3. Sally
    January 14, 2006 at 10:34 am

    I wish you had comments, Ann, both so that I could point out that flea from One Good Thing isn’t a great example of an anonymous blogger (she’s not that anonymous, and she seems to appear in the mainstream media, using her real name, with some regularity) and so I could ask you about blogging in academia using your real name. Several of the anonymous female bloggers you name are untenured academics; none of the real-name bloggers are. I’m not sure that it’s super wise for an untenured academic to blog using his or her real name. It might be ok if you were on a group blog and stuck to dispassionate discussion of “issues,” but I think that blogging on your own, blogging about anything too personal, or seeming too strident could all get you in trouble. And I don’t think that Echidne or BPhD want to use their blogs to discuss academic-y issues in an academic-y voice.

    So open up your comments, gosh darn it, so we can discuss your post without hijacking Jill’s comments!

  4. January 14, 2006 at 11:24 am

    I can’t open the comments at Sivacracy, I’m not the blog administrator, but you can e-mail me if you like: bartow@law.sc.edu
    Lots of untentured academics blog under their own names. Siva does not yet have tenure, for example. He’s pretty fearless, not only with respect to his postings, but with respect to the rest of us who blog at Sivacracy – he’s never once tried to censor me, and I get pretty rowdy at times, as an antidote to my more pedantic academic scholarship. I blogged for about 8 months before tenure; I don’t think my approach to blogging has changed much since I received tenure, but I certainly understand the risks and downsides to “personally identifiable blogging.” That’s why I applaud the courage of those folks who do it. Lauren and Jill are already showing a lot of leadership with this blog, and I look forward to great things from them in the future. Anonymous bloggers can’t use the goodwill and reputations they develop online as effectively toward political and social goals. It particularly troubles me when academics are fearful of speaking out under their own names. I am not AT ALL suggesting that the fear is unjustified. I am lamenting the fact that fear of retribution (and the fear that academic freedom is not a very vibrant construct) silences the very people who are paid to formulate and express well-informed opinions. I don’t have clients, so unlike most lawyers (or judges!) I am free to say whatever I want about legal issues. To me, that is a duty as well as a privilege. Many pseudonymous academic bloggers may very well be gutsy and fearless in their academic scholarship, but I would have no way of knowing, which is sort of my point.

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