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Tending the Pieces of Our Hearts



Lately, all the Ken and Barbie-like, mainstream media, entertainment/news anchors have weighed in on James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces which has been exposed as a lot of big lies.

The book, one of Oprah’s selections, was defended by the powerful talk-show hostess, actress, and very public dieter whom so many admire deeply. At first, Winfrey called the allegations about Frey’s book ‘irrelevant.’ Later, she insisted that the author come clean as he sat on her sofa. There was no “jumping the couch” here. Instead, Frey squirmed.

But, really, enough is enough. Too much precious time has been wasted on this story when in just over a week, 14 US soldiers were killed in Iraq. That’s 14 more families who have received the news that will have an everlasting effect on their lives–14 families who won’t have to worry anymore about their soldiers because the worst has already happened. These 14 families are moving through wave after wave of disbelief, occasional numbness, and flattening grief as a direct result of the lies of the Bush Administration–a Mafia of power-crazed neocons who were “jumping the couch” to invade and occupy Iraq.

Oprah Winfrey acknowledged her mistake in endorsing and supporting James Frey, and she attempted to force the author to confess the enormity of his subterfuge.

Bush Inc. owns no errors. Oh, maybe, he ‘misunderestimated’ a couple of times but he remains a stranger to accountability.

Certainly, James Frey’s hoax has tainted James Frey and casts a slice of a shadow on the authenticity of memoirs in general. But this is a mere blooper compared to the deceit of the president.

The people we invite into our lives each day to provide information about the world are failures of mass proportion. Chris Matthews is a prime-time example. He is besotted by George–so much so that he babbles effusively about the president. Matthews was practically giddy with excitement when the object of his affection interrupted his Palestinian election and Hamas sweep speech to make a lame joke about the errant camera that dangled and swung in the room. Bush’s handlers most likely staged the moment to allow the president an opportunity to “connect” with the people. He sure connects with Chris.

But for many, the link with this con-artist president is a yoke of pain. Bush’s war of choice to ‘win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis’ has delivered despair to our lives. Ask the members of Gold Star Families for Peace who wonder when every America will awaken from complacency and scream for the return of our troops. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans now oppose the invasion. Congress should act with the same courage and leadership displayed by John Murtha. It’s time for the electorate to demand an Oprahesque insistence that George W. Bush admit the tsunami-size deceptions that have killed 2,240 troops, over 100,000 Iraqis, and destroyed a country.

Despite his embarrassment, the denuded James Frey is laughing his way to riches even though Oprah told him, ‘You have betrayed millions.’ Bush and Cheney’s acts have been much more treacherous than Frey’s, and they, too, are guffawing as they sign deposit slips and enlarge their investment portfolios.

We who have suffered the senseless loss in a war that was supposed to be over in a few days don’t feel that we’ll ever again laugh joyously. We wear a smile–a mask–as the routine of living beats on, but we’re mainly trying to tend the million little pieces of our shattered hearts.

MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE can be reached at:


Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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