A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Note to Oprah and Nan: Go Fuck Yourselves…

No, Snarky, this isn't for you, although I appreciate your comment. This is pure outrage--let my rant begin...

Is there no one left in our society who stands up for what they believe in? In Marley’s words, Jesus fucking Christ, people!

Did you see the debacle that was Oprah today? How dare you, Miss Winfrey! How dare you call for reform in MY industry, when your industry has fucked up and continues to fuck up generations of viewers. You want reform, girlie? Look in the mirror…

And I’m just getting started.

I saw enough of Oprah’s nauseating attempt to pass off her screw-up as being scammed by a publisher and author to know that this is nothing but a Cover Your Ass maneuver. Like Oprah has never knowingly foisted a guy full of bullshit on her viewers (or publishers) before?

Anyone heard of Dr. Phil? James Frey is karmic revenge for all of Dr. Phil's books.

I liked her much better when she was just someone who read the book, liked it, and recommended it, our opinions be damned. Then, at least, she could plead ignorance as a plain old reader. One that should have done some research (all responsible "journalists" do that), but a plain old reader nonetheless. That I can almost forgive. Everyone has bouts of bad taste, and, as I said in my last post, just admit you like stupid books and that you are just a talking head. There is no shame in that. I am just a literary agent. My beef was with the ridiculous shit Oprah promotes as “literature” on her show without really knowing what good literature is. I give you Anna Karenininanianainainaaaaaa, for God’s sake. So some professor Marley slept with really thinks it's a classic; that doesn’t mean that Mary Jo Housewife is going to enjoy it for any other reason than Oprah said it was a good book and that it makes her look smart when she reads it at the bee-u-tee parlor. All I wanted was for Oprah to keep her nose out of my industry and realize that any book she picks will immediately go to the best-seller status and take that responsibility a little more seriously. Therefore, Oprah dear, learn to pick quality books.

Simple, right?

Apparently not.

Oprah decides to cover her ass with miles of insulation, playing the put-upon, beleaguered reader, just like every other little old reader, instead of standing up and saying that she liked Frey's book, like she did on Larry King, and fuck the rest of us, even me, if we didn’t like it. That I would have expected, and even bought into. But she freaks me out. She turned on Frey, and then proceeds to blame the publishing industry for foisting crap on her. Whose industry started foisting crap on audiences first?

And then the publisher bails on Frey, too. Who do you think you are, Nan? Judith Regan? Gonna pack them bags and head west? Everyone is smelling defeat and bailing. What a bunch of losers. All the apologies in the world can’t make up for lack of character. Do I feel sorry for James Frey? Nope, he deserves everything he didn’t work for and the consequences thereof. Sorry, Lumpy, but you are just going to have to deal with your wannabe status.

However, Opie and Nanner Nanner Boo Boo can go fuck themselves. The heat was turned up, and you guys turned and ran. How pathetic, and what a metaphor for publishing and our society in general. I would have stayed with it. I would have rode it till it dropped from exhaustion. I’m so good, I would have turned it into a retirement plan, by God! But I would never, ever, desert my authors. Of course, I would have never sold a novel as a memoir, either…

And now everyone wants to reform publishing like they reform education or government spending. Sorry, Oprah, this is not YOUR cause; it is MY profession. Keep your talk show hosty, emotional-pandering hands off. Reform publishing? Not as long as Sammy breathes polluted air, talks to cab drivers in their own languages, and bangs easy women.

That’s a long goddamn time, ladies.

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