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Saturday, October 31, 2015

does-fiction-based-on-fact-have-a-responsibility-to-the-trutH

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/books/review/does-fiction-based-on-fact-have-a-responsibility-to-the-truth.html?ref=review

Simply put, “fiction” of all kinds creates a world of its own that stands in a relationship we have to the world outside that world; this holds true for works as different as DON QUIXOTE and GONE WITH THE WIND, fairy tales such as Guenter Grass TIN DRUM & CAT & MOUSE and formalistic, linguistically playful prose works, say, Peter Weiss THE SHADOW OF THE BODY OF THE COACHMAN. Once a work of that kind, however, makes truth claims as to the so hungered for empirical factual truthfulness outside its linguistic confines it enters a world where it becomes uncertain what a “fact” - “Nothing but the facts, Ma'am” - is but for a kernel & aura of interpretation. All such discussions, at least since Capote's IN COLD BLOOD, point to an audience's great fear that “the real is slippjng away between its fingers, as indeed it is, and that by clutching “facts” its tenuous grasp might be reconfirmed. That is a condition of the spiritual state of the political economy & how it produces and advertises itself as it creates a kind of permanent as if state in which one disaster after the other erupts among the somnambulists and which state I don't think either fiction or semi-non-fiction can do much about but perhaps address and describe. It is no wonder that by and large pleasant and unpleasant lies, as the subject may wish prefer to be believed.

[I cannot imagine writing or reading novels about contemporary, contentious figures where verisimilitude is bound to be questioned. Biography would seem to be sufficiently difficult. Yet there are folks who feel they saw the Kennedy assassination because they saw a filmic re=enactment. I think products like that are the kind of detritus that eventuates in a kind of 2ndorder of the mythic. There is obviously a market for that, a market in minds that prefer to be fed in that fashion. The mythic that then has truth value, however, how is that to be arrived at, or even desired?  

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