Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On The Truth

Off hand, I can really think of only three public figures whom I despise so much, that even my coworkers know my true feelings.

If Ann Coulter appears on a talk show, they know it’s a matter of seconds before I scream obscene things about her. No one at work would even consider letting music by Jewel hit my ears. And when that f*cking liar James Frey comes up in conversation, look out.

Frey, you may recall, is the guy who wrote A Million Little Pieces and the follow-up My Friend Leonard.

I was one chapter away from finishing the first book when it became public that the work of non-fiction was in fact, made up. I went from being riveted by his tale, to refusing to finish it.

People have asked why, if I was so captivated, I stopped reading. It was still a good story, right?

It was a good story, and I’d have been a fan if it had been presented as “inspired by true events.” But it wasn’t. It was a lie.

Jaws is a great movie, but imagine how you would have felt if it were true, if the words “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” had actually been uttered. In addition to being a summer blockbuster it would have been a haunting cautionary tale on the deadly results of ignoring marine biologists.

As a journalist, I find the truth even more important. When I write a story for my profession, it’s true. End of story.

If a book says it’s based on true events, it had better be.

But now we come to this blog, and I think I need to clarify some things.

For example, I didn’t really forget that dogs can’t type. I added that line because, c'mon, it’s funny, right? Right!?

So how are you, the reader supposed to know the truth and know when I’m taking license?

A story that includes animals talking or writing or taking my laundry to the cleaners is probably embelleshed.

If there’s a story about a night out, my family, a woman I might be pining over, that’s at least based on truth.

If the punch line to a story is funny or really funny, it’s true.

If the punch line is really really funny, I made it up… or stole it from someone else.

To make a long story short, go by this: Inspired By True Events… But My Dog Didn’t Really Come Up With An Online Password.

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