A million little enablers

I’ve never bought into the whole “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing or the tenets of our therapeutic culture where everyone’s a victim (which means, of course, that everyone must also be a victimizer). Yes, I’ve been married for 18 years and live in a house full of women so I do know that males and females think differently but I attribute most of the public conversation around this kind of thinking to have more to do with capitalism than revelation (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Sometimes, however, you’ve got to wonder. I’ve had a few chuckles over the flap surrounding James Frey’s supposed autobiographical bestseller “A Million Little Pieces” that was mid-wifed into the stratosphere by Oprah Winfrey and her book club. By all accounts (I’ve not read it, nor do I have plans to do so), the book is a spell-binding read of personal degradation, exploitation of others and reclamation. The scandal, according to The Smoking Gun, is that Frey’s account appears to have more in common with the scripts of the “daytime dramas” flanking Oprah’s show than real life, though it may have exploited a couple of real-life tragedies in the process to add authenticity and pathos.

My schadenfreude at Oprah’s empire being taken in is perhaps my own weakness, but I really see Frey as nothing more than the latest in the literary line that includes Clifford Irving, Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair. It was interesting that he could cause such a sensation, but an important lesson (I thought) that the seeds of his own exposure were intrinsic in his success. I figured there’d be a splashy comeuppance once Oprah exacted her revenge, but instead (as of today) she’s standing by her man.

That surprised me, but not as much as walking into our office breakroom and hearing two women I consider to be fairly sharp discussing – in heart-rending terms – the latest trials and challenges now facing “James” as a result of all of this. I thought they’d start to rip him apart, but they were supportive of him and closed ranks when I volunteered an unsolicited, incredulous “Oh come on,” type of comment.

Amazing, but thank God (really, it is a touch of the Divine) that there’s something in the female wiring that causes them to want to see, embrace or hope for the good in the scruffiest of characters or else 98% of us guys would never stand a chance. Besides that revelation I also got a glimpse of what it’s like for the ladies to walk into the breakroom and hear us guys talking about this quarterback or that pitcher and how this just might be the season when he puts it all together.

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