Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sociopaths in the news: James Frey

The old saying "you can't keep a good man down," does not apply to the author of the faux memoir "Million Little Pieces" James Frey because he is not a good man, but it is true that he can't be kept down. Apart from the obvious lying to a national audience to trump up his street cred for being a Criminal (always capital "C") in his Oprah book club autobiograpy that has been since dubbed "A Million Little Lies," he is making a sociopath name for himself by instituting the first ever (?) literary sweatshop. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:
For Mr. Frey's new venture, Full Fathom Five, the author oversees lesser-known writers as they develop fictional ideas into books that he then markets to publishers and film studios. Its first offering, "I Am Number Four," is a young-adult science-fiction thriller about an alien who comes to Earth as an Ohio teenager. It was published in August and hit the best-seller list. Michael Bay brought the project to DreamWorks Studios, where partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg acquired the film rights after reading the book, with Mr. Bay as producer. Starring Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron and Timothy Olyphant, the film will be released in February, DreamWorks' first offering since it severed ties from Paramount and became independent, with its movies distributed by Disney.

Full Fathom Five is already wrapped in real-life drama. One writer hired attorneys to represent him when dealings with Mr. Frey grew contentious (the dispute was settled late last month). Mr. Frey says that a disgruntled writer is working on a magazine story about him. The writer declined comment. "I go to work and try to do cool things. I can't control what people write about me," says Mr. Frey.

'Unless James is an alien, this book is not a memoir,' says DreamWorks' Stacey Snider.

Some publishers and producers are happy to look beyond his troubled past. Ms. Snider of DreamWorks is unconcerned. "Unless James is an alien," she says, "this book is not a memoir."

Mr. Frey began contemplating the operation that has become Full Fathom Five around the time he finished reading the last installment of the Harry Potter series in 2007. "Someone is going to replace Harry Potter," he recalls thinking. "Maybe it'll be me." A co-owner of an art gallery in New York, Mr. Frey imagined a literary version of an artist's workshop, where one person with a vision employs others to execute it. "I have too many ideas," he says.

To find writers, Mr. Frey trolls writing classes and other writers' gathering places. Writers contracted with Full Fathom Five earn no salary and make almost no money up front (they get $250 upon signing and another $250 upon completion of a book—"Chinese-food money," one author called it). They are promised 30% to 49% of all revenue whether it comes from videogames or publications rights.
This idea is genius. I also have "too many ideas." In fact, I also am looking for slave labor to shoulder all of the work that I will then take credit for, Jeff Koons style (also a sociopath). All interested applicants, please send a c.v. and a sample of your work to -- me at sociopathworld dot com. I'm not even close to kidding. First priority is making a spoof on the trailer for the movie "Love Actually" called "Sociopaths Actually," playing on its tagline "Love actually is all around us."

72 comments:

  1. M.E. May I compete for 30% to 49% of all revenue whether it comes from videogames or publications rights?

    I like the 19% margin.

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  2. Whoa, ME really does read the comments.

    Shit's blowin' up!

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  3. Except your prototype idea is a little too sincerely "meaningful" to be of Jeff Koons or James Frey stature.

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  4. Send the check to "Anonymous". I'll keep contributing.

    Medusa: It does appear we were the better part of their entertainment yesterday... during the ten minutes it took them to examine.

    Fortunately my character will be the "smart" psychopath, laying in wait for other psychopaths to make it big and strike only then. I think the moral of the story would be a comparison: Twenty years of obvious sociopathy and gloating vs only having to drop the mask for twenty minutes to pull the trigger and reap the benefits of others while having a clean record backing one's self. Now that's a tough act to follow for the ones who can't seem to control themselves :)

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  5. Oh and Medusa, while you're on your kick, "Oh shit" spoken unnecessarily is also quite attractive. You should try it when you're out.

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  6. I do that like five times a day as it is.

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  7. In that case, six is a better number.

    On second thought, M.E. will probably kill me instead of compensating me for my contributions to the novel. Maybe it'd be a better ending "actually" depicting this as part of the story and hopefully not too cliche for the reader.

    I can see it now. A killer, two drug lords, a pianist, a married woman, two robots, an aspie, and some informant who goes by the name of Gag Reflex.

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  8. ...and the ever-masturbating, Anonymous.

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  9. You're mistaken Victor. Why, I've never had to learn how to entertain myself. It's just not my nature.

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  10. Anonymous said...

    In that case, six is a better number.

    On second thought, M.E. will probably kill me instead of compensating me for my contributions to the novel. Maybe it'd be a better ending "actually" depicting this as part of the story and hopefully not too cliche for the reader.

    I can see it now. A killer, two drug lords, a pianist, a married woman, two robots, an aspie, and some informant who goes by the name of Gag Reflex.

    Protest if you wish, Anon, but the above post proves otherwise.

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  11. Oh I'm sorry, did you take me seriously? I was guilty as charged. I'll just admit it now due to the fact you made me read what I had written. It's SO colorful, now that you mention it.. Beautiful, no? I suppose if it were not it would not be considered masturbation.

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  12. Anon, back-peddling is not looked upon as a strength, here.

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  13. It's not back-peddling when you have the capacity to both understand sarcasm as well as use it when a person comments on the obvious, for all to see. Perhaps you are one of the few who can do neither.

    But if you would like to get serious, you would have to WANT people to believe you can't understand it, if you're not just masturbating yourself. Also obvious.

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  14. Victor: " A killer, two drug lords, a pianist, a married woman, two robots, an aspie, and some informant who goes by the name of Gag Reflex."

    Who are you referring to? Daniel?

    Perhaps I've missed something here...

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  15. lol i wanna know who the two robots are.

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  16. I wonder, is this sociopathy? He certainly has chutzpah, and no shame. I'm smelling narcissist, or at least a narcissist-heavy sociopath.

    I've utilized people for several projects with no pay. Just being on the "credits" is enough for some kids. Everyone wants their name out there and there's plenty of people willing to do something for nothing, so long as you don't sell it that way.

    The fact that he's offering as much as he is in revenue is actually a good opportunity so long as those aspiring writers only wait around for one shot. The man already has industry connections, so all they have to do is sell their souls for one book.

    The hardest issue for fictional writers is getting that first story/book published. Once that's over, the fight uphill is much easier.

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  17. @ 2 - Anonymous said ...

    I can see it now. A killer, two drug lords, a pianist, a married woman, two robots, an aspie, and some informant who goes by the name of Gag Reflex.

    -not me.

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  18. lol Victor.

    guess that's half the answer.

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  19. He didn't get that either, but honestly that makes three robots if M.E. is to include him as well.

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  20. Uh, I think I'm about to go emo in a second....

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  21. Well... do you ever feel this constant sense of... aloneness? Not loneliness, just.. aloneness.

    An isolation that is more conscious at other times than others, sharper at certain moments or on certain days.

    Especially after being around people for while, when it's so clear that you live in a different world than pretty much everyone everyone else, and that's it's unlikely to ever change, and that it's unlikely that any of them will really understand you or not look at you weird because they don't... "get it", or "get you", for lack of a better phrase.

    Not depression, not really sadness... but just.. I don't know.

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  22. They may fear you, they may admire you, they may despise you, they may idolize you, they may be infatuated with you, they may think you are crazy, but they are never just on the same story of the building.

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  23. Fuckin' whiskey. Only took 2 sips.

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Like, say I'm dating someone. And we're spooning or whatnot. I feel nothing. I feel so much more when I'm thinking about spooning than during the actual act. Just nothing, and I'm laying there waiting for something that never comes.

    Yeah, music. It's the only thing. I'm more in love with my guitar than I think it's possible to truly feel in love with someone else.

    Unless it's a love based on delusion, but I'm done with that.

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  27. But even with the delusion, I still felt the same nothing.

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  28. Hell of a place to go for a pity party.~

    You know where I stand when it comes to isolation, of course.

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  29. Medusa, I have experienced what you described when I was not in love with the other person. Spooning with someone I'm in love with gives me all the "spoony" feelings that you get when you think of what it should feel like. Spooning with someone I feel "eh" about gives me no feelings of "spooness".

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  30. Yeah I don't get the spoony feelings even when I'm supposedly in love or whatever. Only when I'm thinking about it when they aren't around.

    Does this mean I'm in love with my own mind?

    PMS, I'm not sure I do know where you stand.

    And I blame the 2 sips of whiskey.

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  31. Medusa, you've caught me at a place in my life where I'd like to use logic and tell you that all the fairytale stuff just doesn't exist. I'm still out to lunch on that, though. I very much have felt it in relationships but it wore off when the new relationship energy faded and was replaced by the reality that both of us were fucked up jerks. I still felt it with the socio last time I was with him. I definitely can conjure it up in my mind for him, but maybe it's because I can't see him very often.
    I really wish I had more of an answer for you.

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  32. Medusa: It was one of my self-obsessed bits on my little internet alcove. I think you commented, even. :D

    Aerianne: All that fairytale stuff does exist, it's just not as magical as people would like it to be. For some reason, people lose their sense of romance if you tell them it's just a cascade of chemicals in the brain.~

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  33. Medusa:

    "Well... do you ever feel this constant sense of... aloneness? Not loneliness, just.. aloneness."
    " Not depression, not really sadness... but just.. I don't know"

    All the time...

    People dont get me either. It's one of the reasons why I keep coming back here... I can relate.

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  34. Maybe, Medusa, you are in love with your animus.
    I'm beginning to think that I may have been searching for mine all these years.

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  36. ...the new relationship energy faded and was replaced by the reality that both of us were fucked up jerks.

    This should be on a ... t-shirt or something. Or a mug, so as to be seen every morning with coffee, because it made me lols.

    PMS I must've been stoned at the time I read your blog and responded to it. I shall revisit.

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  37. Or even better, it should be on a marriage license.

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  38. Yeah, I think the whole marriage-thing needs to be reworked.

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  39. Marriage is the greatest crime of all. It transforms lovers into relatives.

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  40. Heh, PMS, my reply to your blog post was kind of stoney.

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  41. It might be okay going into it knowing you are fucked up jerks beforehand, and not expecting anything else in the future but a couple of fucked up jerks fucking up.

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  42. Sad? Perhaps. But true? Most definitely.

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  43. Hey, I think I just defined true love.

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  44. Yes, it's true, Post; and Medusa, you could add "and being empowered to raise fucked up kids" to your statement.

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  45. Yes.

    I'm being serious, though.

    And, that's what family is, after all.

    I love my mom and dad.

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  46. I think it's perfect now, Medusa. The perfect statement to end the perfect day on. Good Night.

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  47. I prefer isolation, usually.

    Hell, I haven't seen anyone besides the pizza delivery guy since Wednesday as I've been stuck home sick.

    I sort of know what you're talking about though, Medusa, in regarding people as sort of not on the level as you.

    I wonder if it is a heightened state of awareness, or social detachment. Surely 'normal' folks at least have somewhat congruent thoughts, no?

    Everyone wears some sort of mask, after all. Especially is social situations.

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  48. This is concerning the conversation from yesterday (about gonzales ... or, in connection to the article about gonzales):

    I've been missing out on a good conversation here, eh?

    Son of Sam,

    man, you're hilarious writing that idiocy to me. I'll leave the link to me reply once more, just to rub it in ... since that seems to be needed.

    (If it wasn't because it's so politically incorrect I would say: "You be stupid, nigger!!")


    UK,

    as always you list some very good points.

    (and just to get it straight: Of course I understand why you don't stick to one set definition of sociopathy, psychopathy, etc.. Pointing it out was the natural thing to do, if I hadn't somebody else would've, and as far as I am concerned I've been supportive from the start with everything I've written, AND told about myself too.)

    ...

    I can almost be envious of Koonz for having had the opportunity and being at the right place at the right time, and all that. But then again, there're so many more things, so many ideas ... It makes life interesting, and I think it's part of the reason why I feel as young as I did when I was 16 or 25.


    I'll be off for vacation for the week. So if I'm not replying to comments, it's not because I ignore you guys or because I have nothing to say (I pretty much always have something to say).

    Now be nice while uncle Zhawq is away, kiddos, and remember: Have fun!

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  49. Great idea of Mr. Frey's too. Didn't know about him until this article.

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  51. Anonymous:

    "I can see it now. A killer, two drug lords, a pianist, a married woman, two robots, an aspie, and some informant who goes by the name of Gag Reflex."

    Looks like it's going to be a colorful novel.


    PMS:

    "All that fairytale stuff does exist, it's just not as magical as people would like it to be."

    Well, it seems it actually DOES exist after all. I know people who claim to have experienced it (and with me, actually).

    "It's all in the mind", as the saying goes. I am convinced that's the truth.

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  52. Come now, why the glum faces? Look in the mirror, stay on track. Don't loose sight of the real game

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  53. M.E. said...
    I also have "too many ideas." In fact, I also am looking for slave labor to shoulder all of the work that I will then take credit for, Jeff Koons style (also a sociopath). All interested applicants, please send a c.v. and a sample of your work to -- me at sociopathworld dot com. I'm not even close to kidding.


    i am slave only to my own ideas.

    but selling them is so boring. i could use a sociopathic agent. m.e., i will pay you 15%. just send me your c.v. and impressive testimonials.

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  54. Ha, Gag you finally showed up.

    Medusa, sounds to me like you have a significantly larger imagination than most. Safe to say most of us have probably caused our alone-ness inadvertently and you're alone standing next to your best friend at times.

    I agree with P-Mod and his list of crimes as well.

    Did it ever occur to anyone here to search for said "love" and "honor" at one point in time? I've seen two people supposedly "in love" before, I know what it looks like and it looks really nice. I appreciated seeing it and was even jealous of it at one point. The whole "I don't have my equal like they have theirs" type of thing, which is also incorrect but when you don't know any better it's really easy to make an ass out of yourself.

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  55. aren't we talking about two kinds of love here?

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  56. Looks like a good article Gag I shall have to bookmark. Thanks.

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  57. Glad you liked it. Am very interested to hear comments from you and the regulars here on some of Mr. Hedges's views.

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  58. Haven't read it yet, but I am doing do now.

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  59. Dammit this dude wrote the article I would've written, although I would have gone about it a little differently and taken it further.

    It's cool he compared society to psychopathy, which is what I attempted to do, albeit in one sentence, in the blog post above this one.

    And he almost got all Che at the end... there are very few people yet that are quite ready to hear that and not cry "histrionic paranoid conspiracy theory!"

    I found it a bit absurd that he called Michael Jackson a psychopath. Right. That made me chuckle. I get his point though. He did indeed unwittingly have psychopathic traits, I guess, but that's from being the epitome of a victim.

    Funny paradox, that.

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  60. Aww shucks Medusa, can't you take anything "literally"(1) just once!~ Gotta believe in something at some point. Waddya expect Jesus?? This is just a well written perspective that may be shared by more than a few. If I were you, I'd go ahead and write your perpective off your chest without worrying too much about whether you'd be branded victim, a psychopath or a hypocrite.

    (1)go with the flow

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  61. Medusa said...
    Especially after being around people for while, when it's so clear that you live in a different world than pretty much everyone everyone else, and that's it's unlikely to ever change, and that it's unlikely that any of them will really understand you or not look at you weird because they don't... "get it", or "get you", for lack of a better phrase. Not depression, not really sadness... but just.. I don't know.


    awareness where there is none.

    They may fear you, they may admire you, they may despise you, they may idolize you, they may be infatuated with you, they may think you are crazy, but they are never just on the same story of the building.

    this is beautifully put, medusa.

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  62. Zoe said... aren't we talking about two kinds of love here?

    what i meant was everyone assumes that someone who could see inside your head, where there is that perfect kind of connection, would be "the one". having that connection might bring comfort to existence, knowing that there are others who think and feel just like you, but it might not be love. to me love is acknowledgment and celebration of something outside of ourselves that isn't us, without the need to possess it or turn into it.

    if there is not enough space, you're like two bodies with one mind. it's either a mental death for one, or a power struggle, and either way an eventual end to the relationship.

    to borrow medusa's analogy, i think a perfect love would be where you're in a high rise building that has many stories and spend time together on the same floor but also time apart on different ones. yet we romanticize the merging death kind of love, a narcissistic feast where each psychologically cannibalizes the other.

    well maybe this is why i'm not married. too many floors to explore - and i'm vegetarian.

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  63. Oh no. no no no. This is what Creative Non-Fiction does. It's "creative." ALL CNF is exaggerated. I think more people need to read up on theories of the genre a little bit, rather than listening to Oprah's tantrums about how she's such a victim because she doesn't know how to read CNF. I wouldn't doubt that Oprah is the narcissist here. Read _The Things They Carried_. Read Creative Non-Fiction that discusses what Creative Non-Fiction is, and how there's a lot of "Creativity" going on for the sake of the story, if you don't want to read the critical articles. My Creative Writing professor in college even had a name for the small lies you told in creative essays to get the point across, or to sacrifice menial details to emphasize the bigger truth of yourself or the story: "Big C, little nf." You need to know what it is before you psychoanalyze the authors.

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