Aug 9, 2007

It's a Letter Writing Kind of Day

Some days things just get you so mad you have to sit down and write a letter. Lately I've not been bashful about writing letters to my Senators and Congressmen when there's an important Bill up for vote and I want them to know how I feel. Today I wrote a letter to President Bush (see below) for a ZILLION reasons, and a letter to Nan Talese (Senior Vice President of Doubleday and the Publisher and Editorial Director of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) for her stand against Oprah Winfrey's horrendous and uncalled for second interview with author James Frey. My letter to Ms. Talese was as follows: Dear Ms. Talese: Kudos to you for your strong stand behind the works of James Frey. I read this book long before the Oprah Show deemed it "worthy" and shot it to the bestseller list. I read it at a time when I was having serious drug-related difficulties with my 20-something daughter, and Mr. Frey was kind enough to email me several times and provide me with encouragement and hope. I will never forget how kind and caring he was. I truly admire your willingness to stand up to Oprah, in a time when so many people (particularly her viewers) see her in some God-like role. A recent newspaper article stated, "Talese was unapologetic for publishing the book... and she described Winfrey to him as "holier-than-thou" and her talk-show audience as reminiscent of a 'Roman circus.'" I could not agree with this statement more. Although I can understand why Oprah wanted to clarify whether the book was totally fact / totally fiction / somewhere inbetween, I just cannot get past the horrendous, rude, uncalled for and hurtful way she went about it. The words in the book are the same words in the book that touched her and her viewers' hearts, made them think, brought them insightfulness into the world of addiction. That did NOT change!!! For her to play God over one man's life was just the most dispicable thing I have ever witnessed on television. I have not watched an episode of the Oprah Show since. Her viewers that jumped on the anti-James bandwagon should be ashamed of themselves for not having a mind of their own. I hope there is never a day in my life when another person dictates how I feel or react to a piece of literature or any other style of art. Think about it -- wasn't that one of the ways Hitler and the Taliban came into power? -- not just by dictating what could and could not be read and disposing of works of art and literature they "deemed" inappropriate for society -- but because the population around them LET IT HAPPEN. Oprah's viewers thought James' book was the best thing since sliced bread until Oprah told them to think otherwise. Shame on them. I commend you for continuing to stand behind your decision to publish Mr. Frey's books. but even more for standing up to a woman who has WAY too much power in our world, and abuses that power in ways that historically tells us is just not good for Society as a whole. Sincerely, Within just an hour or so, I received a letter back from Ms. Talese (I'm honored!). It read: Thank you very much for writing and for your additional thoughts. There was a wonderful program on public televison--Bill Moyers--about the media and the war, and it is the same thing : people are afraid to speak the truth. With all good wishes to you, Nan I'm tired of being afraid to speak the truth. Actually -- I'm not so sure that it's being afraid -- it's more like being too complacent to get off our butts and SAY SOMETHING AND SAY IT LOUD! I'm also a firm believer in writing as many positive letters as negative. My response to my email to President Bush is as follows: On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence. We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions. Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message. Thank you again for taking the time to write. Sigh.. I wonder if he sees ANY of the emails? I definitely think we need a new President who is willing to take the blinders off and look America in the eye for a change. Ok, I won't get going on that subject again... I encourage everyone to write write write to every politician that's pissing you off OR doing a great job. I just think they need to know that we (Mr. and Mrs. Average American) are actually AWARE of what's going on...

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