At first, we could not imagine growing sick of the whole James Frey/”Oprah’s Book Club” controversy.
Did James actually use his own blood to make himself a Bloody Mary at a cocktail party in 1994, or did he use a Mr. & Mrs. T’s mix? Initially, we admit we were curious.
But now, thanks to James’ obloquy, even Oprah’s newest selection — Elie Wiesel‘s “Night” is under the microscope, per the Forward today:
“As E.J. Kessler reported in these pages, even “Night” has raised red flags. In 1996, Naomi Seidman, a Jewish Studies professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., compared the original 1956 Yiddish version of the book, then titled “Un di velt hot geshvign” (“And the World Kept Silent”), with the later 158-page French version (“La Nuit”), which is the text that was translated and constitutes the Oprah-book as we now know it. According to Seidman’s account, published in the scholarly journal Jewish Social Studies, Wiesel substantially rewrote the work between editions – suggesting that the strident and vengeful tone of the Yiddish original was converted into a continental, angst-ridden existentialism more fitting to Wiesel’s emerging role as an ambassador of culture and conscience. Most important, Seidman wrote that Wiesel altered several facts in the later edition, in some cases offering accounts of pivotal moments that conflicted with the earlier version.”
Enough. I don’t care if Wiesel wrote that he personally gave Goebbels a wedgie; the man is a hero. Not remembering the exact details because you’ve been huffing Easy Off oven cleaner is not the same as not remembering things exactly because you were nearly-starved to death at Buchenwald. Let’s stop screwing with his legacy.