kottke.org posts about oprahwinfrey
James Frey is on Oprah today and Jan 26 2006
James Frey is on Oprah today and Gawker had someone blogging the show while it was being taped earlier today. Oprah hammers Frey pretty hard and he admits that most/all of the Smoking Gun's allegations were true. (thx, hillary and mike)
Last 100 posts, part 6 Jan 18 2006
[This is a semi-regular feature following up on stuff I've posted here recently.]
The Digg link happened late Saturday night in the US and the Slashdot link occurred midday on Sunday. Traffic to sites like Slashdot and Digg are typically lower during the weekend than during the weekday and also less late at night. So, Digg might be at somewhat of a disadvantage here and this is perhaps not an apples to apples comparison.
Several folks complained about this, some saying that it invalided the whole thing. The Digging of the DvS piece gives us another look at the Digg effect, from right in the middle of a weekday. Digg #2 was dugg 1441 times, got 98 comments, and sent around 10,200 people to kottke.org. By contrast, Digg #1 was dugg 1387 times, garnered 65 comments, and sent ~20,000 people to kottke.org. Digg #1 was actually more successful in driving traffic to kottke.org on a Saturday night than Digg #2 on a Thursday afternoon. Here's a graph that compares the three events:
It's hard to see the exact effect of Digg #2 on this graph (I forgot to grab a screenshot of the bandwidth graph when it happened, so all I have is the historical wide view), but it doesn't stand out that much from what happened the previous day (each one of those "bumps" is a day) and didn't have much of an effect beyond the initial spike. However, judging from the traffic that the individual Digg pages drove to kottke.org (Digg #1: 4525 people; Digg #2: 2668 people), it looks like the iPod feature was more interesting to the Digg audience than the Digg v. Slashdot post (which makes sense). So, still not exactly a fair comparison and raises more questions than provides answers.
The James Frey thread ended up with almost 950 comments before I shut it down because of redundancy and a lot of nastiness on the part of a few participants. The kottke.org record for most comments on a post is nearly 1800 on this post about The Matrix Reloaded (continued here)....that conversation, while nerdy, was a lot more civil.
After reading some of those comments and other things written about the controversy (but without having read the book), my take on Frey is that memories are subjective and readers need to cut authors some slack on that when writing memoirs. However, Frey stepped over the line in manufacturing situations that didn't happen and deserves the backlashing he's now receiving. My favorite observation on this whole deal was made by Stephen on a mailing list we're both on. In a 2003 interview for The Observer, Frey said:
I don't give a fuck what Jonathan Safran whatever-his-name or what David Foster Wallace does. I don't give a fuck what any of those people do. I don't hang out with them, I'm not friends with them, I'm not part of the literati...A book [Eggers' AHBWOSG] that I thought was mediocre was being hailed as the best book written by the best writer of my generation. Fuck that. And fuck him and fuck anybody who says that. I don't give a fuck what they think about me.
To Oprah on Larry King last week, Frey had this to say:
I admire you tremendously and thank you very much for your support. And, you know, it's -- I'm still incredibly honored to be associated with you, and I will for the rest of my life. Thank you.
The man knows who buttered his bread, that's for sure. Oh, and The Onion's take is good too. "Accounts of assault with a deadly weapon, narcotics possession, and incitement of riot actually happened during 2002 Grand Theft Auto session."
Many didn't realize that my letter to Apple Support was a joke. Sure, I had post-MacWorld gadget lust, but my new Powerbook is great, does everything I want, and I don't really want the new one. Besides, everyone knows you don't buy the first version of new Apple hardware...I'm waiting until they work all the kinks out. Here's a not-so-positive review of the MacBook Pro announcement at Unsanity.
James Frey was on Larry King last Jan 12 2006
James Frey was on Larry King last night but didn't seem to address specific concerns about his book (transcript). Oprah called in to support him. I love the paragraph of disclaimer in the article: "The [Smoking Gun] Web site is owned by Court TV, which is half owned by Time-Warner, CNN's parent company. The movie rights have been purchased by Warner Brothers, also part of Time Warner." Meanwhile, the vigorous discussion continues in the thread...361 comments and counting.