Aline Countess of Romanones Message Board
MarkM posts on 4/21/2011 10:43:59 AM
Anita and Angela, you told me I am entitled to my opinion, and entitled to share it here. Does Trial1c's comment just below mine indicate that this is true? Who is the one being rude here? At any rate, I will ignore the rudeness and not return it in kind.
In the interest of keeping the kind of lively discussion going that you, Angela, say you welcome, I had some thoughts on the standard defense of Romanones, that she may have embellished here and there, but the core of her story is true, so it is alright to publish it as a nonfiction memoir.
In 2006, author James Frey’s best-selling memoir “A Million Little Pieces” became the center of controversy and scrutiny, even to the point of Oprah Winfrey herself, who had formerly lauded his book, excoriating him in person on her show. Winfrey also took Frey’s publisher to task for classifying the book as a memoir without doing any fact-checking.
“A Million Little Pieces” purported to recount Frey’s life of crime and drug addiction before cleaning up and becoming a writer. The accuracy of the memoir had not been seriously questioned until after Winfrey lauded Frey’s book, when The Smoking Gun website revealed the results of a six-week investigation which found major portions of Frey’s life story were mostly fictionalized. Frey’s claims of jail time, doing at least an 87 day stretch, for instance, were completely untrue: “The closest Frey has ever come to a jail cell was the few unshackled hours he once spent in a small Ohio police headquarters waiting for a buddy to post $733 cash bond,” The Smoking Gun reported.
The fallout of Frey’s deception was that his publisher, Random House, has placed disclaimers in subsequent printings of the book, Peguin imprint Riverhead pulled out of a seven-figure, two-book deal with Frey, and Frey’s literary agent dropped him.
So at the heart of it, Frey's memoir was true, he was an addict who had a messed up life and got in trouble with the law, just like at the heart of it, Romanone's memoirs are true, she worked for the OSS, was maybe involved in a little intrigue. In Frey's case, he simply embellished how much trouble he actually got involved with, just to make it a good, readable story, while Romanones embellished her activities to make it a good, readable story. So why is it that Frey earned the derision of the public and the publishing community for his embellishment, but, according to you all, Romanone's embellishments are perfectly fine?
That leads me to another question -if Frey and Romanones wanted to create embellished versions of their lives, why did they publish them as memoirs? Why didn't they publish them a semiautobiographical fiction? There is an entire genre out there, guys like Vonnegut and Kerouac, who did just that. Could it be that Frey and Romanones thought that their embellishments would sell better if they were marketed as being true? Isn't that just a tad deceptive? It seems, at least in Frey's case, that the public and publishing community thinks so.
Any thoughts on this?
Triall1c posts on 4/20/2011 10:21:46 PM
AND! I will say it again Mark M.
BUTT OUT of here!
MarkM posts on 4/20/2011 7:19:23 PM
Angela and Anita, thank you at last for some fair-minded comments and for at last acknowledging that I am entitled to my skepticism and to post it here.
Anita, you told me to Avanti after the only thing I had done was post the West source, I had not attacked or insulted anyone here. That was a very rude comment, so I find your umbrage at what you see as my attacks to be hypocritical, since you instigated the rudeness. As the Bible says “why do you point out the splinter in your brother’s eye and not notice the plank in yours?”
My simple posting of the West source had also caused RoseanneH to accuse me of being someone else and making it my life’s work to discredit Romanones. Her comments were also very rude and uncalled for. And yet, all I did was tell her to get a grip, which I think was justified considering the outlandish leaps to judgement of such scurrilous accusations. I also asked her a rhetorical question about why it is so important to her to defend the Countess. Hardly a vicious attack. Then, I posted a couple other sources. Again, not rude to do so, not an attack, yet this caused people to tell me to butt out, go elsewhere, and tell me that no one here cares what I think (although Huddleston seemed to), all extremely rude things to say, and not justified by anything I had said at that point.
So yes, after being treated so rudely by several of you, I returned fire with fire, which I am sorry for, because I do know better to return the rudeness of others with my own.
Again, thank you both for acknowledging my entitlement to my skepticism and my right to post it here, even though several people here tried to tell me otherwise initially.
Happy Easter, everyone.
Angela posts on 4/19/2011 7:16:47 PM
Anita, I would be thrilled to pieces to see a movie made, but the pessimist in me fails to see how it could be done in a way that would satisfy my critical eye! For starters, i can't even think of who I would like to see play the starring role. I keep visualizing the actress Elinor Donahue, the daughter from Father Knows Best, because she looks a lot like Aline, however, I believe she's even older than Aline, so that won't work. Oh well, I still hope a movie is forthcoming, because it would at least expose so many more people to her life and story. I still have a very dog-earred copy of The Spy Wore Red, my very first exposure to the Countess. I brought it with me on my vacation to Tahiti and couldn't put it down til I was finished. Even the awesome beauty of the islands couldn't get me to put down her book!
Anita posts on 4/17/2011 11:21:24 PM
Angela: You are correct DECEPTION is a better word,so I concede!
Good to see you back on The Countess' Message Board.I just saw the movie "Enigma" and my thoughts raced to the time when The Countess was working in her office sending messages back and forth, waiting for word of "successful drops behind enemy lines".
I eagerly await a movie to be made of her Books. Let's hope it is soon!
Angela posts on 4/16/2011 8:48:00 PM
Hi everyone. Great posts all around. I actually don't mind the negative posts. It's kind of like being in a boxing ring. Gets the adrenaline going and sparks some interesting back and forth commentary! Anita, you rock. You hit the bullseye with your remark on lying being crucial and prevalent in the spy trade. I would have used the kinder word, deception, but hey, a lie is a lie! So, here is to deception or lying, and the freedom and great reading material it brings us. I know in my heart that the Countess is brave, kick ass lady that did more for justice than we'll ever know.
Mackenzie posts on 4/16/2011 4:45:03 PM
It has been just over a year since I last discovered and read this wonderful online message board, regarding the beloved Countess. I see the board has grown some too, which is always a good thing. It's important to stay positive.... and keep in mind, where there is growth there will always be some negativity which accompanies that growth.
Anyway, I just wanted to drop by quickly and say hello to you all as we continue to enjoy a love for these wonderfully, intriguing stories. Honestly, I am thoroughly looking forward to reading her books again for a second time this summer, just as soon as I wrap up this spring semester. Come May, it will be me, on the beach, in the sand, with the Countess's books in hand! Xox
Anita posts on 4/16/2011 3:21:59 PM
I agree with Roseanne, and compliments each of you. We do have that wonderful connection; love of Spain, Intrigue,The Countess & her books, the hero's of OSS, all of them during WWII. Let us all keep going and reading of all those courageous men and women. I wish I had personally known them. Those who died certainly did not die in vain.
Roseanne H posts on 4/15/2011 11:05:17 PM
To Traill1C, Anita, Bob, Angela, Anonymous, and GregR, it is so HEARTWARMING to read your wonderful posts, written with such intelligence and fervor. Thank you all for expressing, in your own unique way, the bond that we all share…our admiration for the Countess.
Triall1c posts on 4/15/2011 10:36:28 PM
We have several very dedicated fans including myself, of the Countess who regularly read this blog. I know that each of us has done our homework about the Countess. TRUST ME....I HAVE! Nothing that anyone says will ever change my feelings about her. I appreciate being part of a group that supports her and wishes the best for her. It is a mutual interest that brings us all together. We ALL KNOW that the Countess wrote her books with literary license. Regardless, unless you have a passions for the person as well as the books, you will never truly be a fan. It involves too much. The love of history, Spain, the USA, the lineage of families from the aristocracy, the Spanish traditions....I could go on and on. All these things are part of the book which the Countess has written. To admire her is to have an all encompassing view of what she is relating. Some choose to see in in another light.
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