For someone like yours truly, who is actively trying to get sentences published on paper in the real world (Believe it or not, my written work is not solely in the "hey, what's Lindsay Lohan doing today?" genre), the death of print media is a double-edged sword (See, that's called "imagery;" very literary).
On the one hand, I have to watch a field I am deeply interested in shrivel and wither like an eighty-year stop motion movie of my penis (That one's called a "simile").
On the other hand, the low standards of decency on the web allow me to project the image of my withered penis into the minds of thousands of readers, whereas in the pre-web days such a wonderful bond would not, yea, could not have been forged.
But come on, print media: though your long reign may be approaching its end, let’s die with some dignity shall we? The specific embarrassing death throes I’m referring to are the increasingly frequent misattributions of the title “memoir” or “true story” to straight up Fiction. Or, as we call it at our weekly writer's meetings, “Lies.”
You probably remember James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces being unmasked as fraud, especially because that particular unmasking made Oprah look like a tool, which is always fun. But recently, this sort of thing has started to happen with absurd regularity.
Take Misha, the inspiring memoir of a young girl traversing the European wilderness to escape the Nazis and being raised along the way by a family of wolves. It was recently proven to be totally fraudulent. The woman who wrote it escaped from the Nazis the normal, boring way: by jetpack.
In the book, she lied about most every detail of her life, including being Jewish, presumably because she thought the whole “Holocaust thing” had been done and needed spicing up with some Romulus and Remus allusions. If there’s any justice, Elie Wiesel’s on his way to her house right now with a lead pipe.
But even more insidious, if not as blasphemously twisted, is the recently debunked “memoir” Love and Consequences, the stirring first-person narrative of a young half-Native American woman’s ordeal growing up in a black foster home, running drugs for L.A. street gangs, and seeing her brother get shot down by the Crips.
The author, a white woman raised by wealthy parents and living in Oregon, has canceled all promotional tours through Los Angeles, I’m guessing because she would be instantly swarmed by literate gang members who want to gun her down for cheapening their noble way of life.
I can see why publishers allow this to happen. No one buys new Fiction nowadays, so call it a stirring personal ordeal and watch it climb to the Best Seller List on the back of Oprah’s Book Club. But, seriously, let’s get on this. It’s not worth the humiliation anymore.
You’re dying, print media; accept it and try not to soil yourself in your last moments. That’s how my Grandpa went, and now at Thanksgiving it’s the only time he comes up in conversation.
On a related note, call your nearest Barnes and Noble today and reserve your own copy of my upcoming memoir, Doing Coke with Heidi Klum While Inside of a Tiger: The Michael Swaim Story (Book I: Mission to Mars)!
When not blogging for Cracked, Michael constructs a far more interesting life than his own as head writer and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!