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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pope and High Priest: Benedict and Oprah

I'm not sure what's bigger news: Pope Benedict's first encyclical or Oprah's reversal of support for James Frey, author of the bestselling and fraudulent A Million Little Pieces. OK, I'm going to give the nod to the Pope over the Artist Occasionally Known as Poprah, but it's still a big news story (I guess). Oprah actually has apologized for implying that the truth of Frey's harrowing account mattered less than its redemptive power. You may recall that she phoned in to Larry King Live in defense of Frey. But two weeks later, she invited Frey to her show. Instead of defending him or her initial comments, Oprah apologized to viewers, berated him for lying to her, and reduced him to sheepish apologies.

I'm not a huge fan of the High Priestess of American Therapeutic Culture. She has endearing qualities, but it just freaks me out how she can reduce a group of women to Beatlemania at Shea (or David Letterman to putty). For better or for worse, she wields amazing cultural power. But in Freygate, she deserves credit for admitting she was wrong and for being honest with Frey about her feelings. Did I just write that? Holy cow, she's getting to me! I better go read that encyclical...

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