Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Cross between Idolizing and Hating

What’s the fine line between idolizing someone and hating them? What does it mean when someone famous, someone you have never met, takes up too much real estate in your brain? Washington Post writer Ann Hornaday calls it idolspize and she applies her theories to Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and many other well-told tales.

Do you idolspize?

Or, more to the point, whom do you idolspize?

THEN …..

I idolspize Susan Orlean.

Please understand: I adore Susan Orlean and begrudge her nothing, not the New Yorker gig, the books, the close-up-ready face. Not even the two great movies based on her articles -- "Adaptation" and "Blue Crush" -- that opened the same year . Still, throughout the ensuing weekend, my mind obsessively returned to the same thoughts, the mewling laments of a puny inquisitor: She's got the career, the looks, the romance, the kid. Did she have to get the perfect house, too? Must her happiness, however justified, be so in-your-face? Must she be so promiscuous in her bliss?

We all have them, those close friends, colleagues, casual acquaintances or complete strangers whose lives and careers exist -- it seems to us -- solely as a rebuke to our own. We respect them, admire them from afar, maybe even love them -- but with a twinge of . . . what exactly? Jealousy? Envy? White-knuckled rage? They're the people who are constantly reminding us that we'll never quite measure up. They're the valedictorians to our salutatorians, the bestsellers to our mid-listers, the mid-listers to our never-published, the homecoming queens to our also-rans. They seem to have sprung fully formed from our ugliest competitive streaks, our egos at their most fragile, our deepest self-loathing. They are our own squandered potential, fully realized.



I-MADE-it-up memoirist James Frey's new megabucks book deal has exploded into a million little pieces. Frey had a deal with his current publisher, Penguin-owned imprint Riverhead, for two more books, which was inked just before it was scandalously revealed last month that Frey had fabricated much of his story. The reputed new seven-figure contract included Frey's "first" novel, a "multi-voiced, multi-threaded story of contemporary Los Angeles," slated for publication in fall 2007. But a publishing source told PAGE SIX's Jared Paul Stern that Riverhead decided the author was too much of a liability and has just nixed the deal after much discussion. "That is correct, and we have no comment," Frey's rep says.

Earlier this month, Frey's literary agent Kassie Evashevski, who negotiated the deal, dropped him citing "broken trust." Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is re-evaluating its big screen adaptation of Frey's faux memoir "A Million Little Pieces." But none of the negativity has had much impact on sales of the book, which recently hit the 3 million mark.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Well, I used to really idolspize Louise Erdrich & Michael Dorris, and then...

and for a while I really idolspized Ayelet W and Michael C, and then....

do you see a pattern?

I think I'm giving up idolspizing.