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Lying Writers and the Two Things I Have Learned about People

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lying Writers and the Two Things I Have Learned about People

They're installing the new sliding patio door.  It's 8:30 a.m.  Can't really think with all the pounding, but Holden is with his mom in the bedroom, giving me time to write, and since I'm always bitching about not having time to write, I will work through the chaos and disjunction.  Heroically.


Saw a Yahoo headline this morning, which is where I get all my news, especially when Mariano blows a save to the cocksucking Blue Jays and I can't check the sport sites, and this caught my eye: "New Interest in Lying Writers."  If you follow this blog, you know that one of the obstacles my agent and I have faced in trying to get my memoir, Junkie Love, published involves James Frey's A Million Little Pieces and acquisition editors and salespeople being leery of ex-junkie tell alls after it turned out that Frey made up and/or greatly exaggerated the most harrowing parts of his book.  (That, or I suck).  These are generally the headlines that catch my eye, the ones that directly relate to me and my struggle.

The article talked about Frey and Stephen Glass and some other dude from the NY Times that I vaguely remember hearing about, and how they presented fiction as non-fiction, and where are they now, etc.  It's funny.  Even though I think James Frey is a douche, mostly because I need someone to blame for my failures, I find it hard not to defend these writers.  I mean, where is the line between the two?

(Wow.  This is going to be hard without talking about politics.  But I promised Jimmy and Duane that I wouldn't.  And I won't.) 

Regardless of which side of the ideological fence you drink your coffee, I think we can all agree that life is fair amount of bullshit.  From the "you can be anything you want to be" when you're a kid, to the "vote: it makes a difference!" when you are an adult, only the most fervent optimist is going to claim it's all on the up and up, that good people eventually get what they deserve, and the wicked parish (even if this has to take place in the afterworld), and true love overcomes all, and whatever else they're selling at the five and dime.

Pretty much, from an early age, we start to "get it."  Well, most of us do.  We all know plenty of people who will never "get it."  But they ain't reading this blog, and chances are they are not in your kitchen right now.  Politicians lie.  People are selfish. Weathermen are rarely right.  What you see is rarely what you get, and in the rarer instances it is, you can start counting the days and planning vacations around when it won't be anymore.

So in the wake of such dishonesty, disingenuousness, and some other negative "d" word to make this list complete (like I said, pounding, hard to think), we, above all, look to be entertained.

Which is a long-about way of saying, with all the daily shit in the newspapers and bipartisan spin doctoring and squawking, what difference does it really make if Jayson Blair fabricated some quotes?

Don't forget, as my friend Dan Wakefield pointed out in his book Spiritually Incorrect, we live in a country where 17% of the people think Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

I get that we need to have "trusted news sources," and picking on FOX probably violates my "no politics" rule, so I won't.  But I can say there are plenty of people, myself included, who will only get their news from a source that validates his own belief system.  And if you are like me, meaning you grew up in the '70s in the Northeast, then you heard that the Indians were savages and the cowboys the good guys.  You didn't hear about Andrew Jackson cracking Indian infant skulls against trees.  And there wasn't much talk about Honest Abe wanting to kick all the black people out of this country after the North won the war.  Fuck, if you live in Kansas now, you've been taught that the world is 6,000 years old and man walked with the dinosaurs.  What's the big deal if Stephen Glass made up a stories about hackers and wild Young Republicans?  Because the president reads the magazine on Air Force One on his way to listen to insurance lobbyists and health care lobbyists and lobbyists that don't represent any of our interests?  Maybe it's a bad thing.  I don't know.  But it's certainly not any worse than a lot of other things.

Which brings us to our concluding point in today's overly didactic (though [for the most part] politic free) post:

The Two Things Joe Has Learned about People

  1. They are self-serving
  2. And they lie


At April 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM , Blogger DSobczak said...

Joe I must commend you on skirting the edges of what could have been a very political topic.

Interesting and accurate take in my opinion on how the average individual gets their news.

To me the evils of; say a Fox News or a liberal minded news source aren't their viewpoints, as much as it is an op ed piece disguised as the news.

They don't report just the facts anymore. Inevitably any news story somewhere makes the journey into whom is to blame. Hell, natural disasters can't be "just" a natural disaster anymore. If you try hard enough, I would bet money you can find a story somewhere that claims the Tsunami in Japan was the result of some poor environmental program unleashed by Reagan or someone else.

Wow I think I may have broken my tenet regarding political discourse.

Just my two cents. I hope I didn't offend any journalists out there with my comments that might be following your blog.

At April 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At April 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Thank you, Duane. We here at Candy and Cigarettes strive to hate all things equally.

At April 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Blogger troubledwaters said...

what about the self-serving folks that don't lie and just have Chutzpah?

At April 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

"Who" don't lie..., Idan. "That" is for things; "who" is for people. Get it straight. Now that you've had your grammar lesson for the day, go eat something!

At April 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM , Blogger troubledwaters said...

THAT is what I get for writing on very few hours of sleep, and insufficient quantities of food. Also: I smell a rat...

At April 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

A RAT? Well, catch the damn thing so you can cook it and eat something before your next workout!

At April 23, 2011 at 10:16 AM , Blogger sasupinski said...

I don't lie and it is the basis of many of my issues in life. 1) I have trouble recognizing lies. especially in people I love and trust. 2)I regularly 'share' personal information that people don't need to know and occasionally make them uncomfortable. And last but not least: 3)most people really don't want to hear the truth . . .

At April 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

1.) Me, too. Which I why I am continually hurt. 2.) Me, too. Which is why I am continually hurt. And 3.) I agree. Which is why we will continue to be hurt.

At April 23, 2011 at 6:30 PM , Blogger whatever said...

sucks. is there any hope?

At April 23, 2011 at 9:25 PM , Blogger king j said...

Obi Wan?


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