Glances at Big Ideas

If I may relate a few very baseline concepts about the way things work: Nonfictional media is so very fascinating because, while it still very much tells a story, it’s created in the opposite way from fiction. Okay, maybe the documentarian, historian, or whoever has an idea of the narrative they want to present, but the way it actually happens is that they gather footage and information, then cut away all of the unnecessary content until what’s left is a coherent story.

If a fiction writer is a painter, then documentarians and journalists are sculptors. One carefully decides every flourish to realize a vision; the other, with equal care, removes the bits of reality they’ve gathered that have nothing to do with what they’re trying to say.

So fiction and nonfiction are mirror images: real and unreal stories created in opposite ways. The fictional has more of a visceral appeal to me personally, but I recognize and appreciate the validity of both.

It’s also worth noting that the whole “mockumentary” phenomenon is really interesting in that it tries to appear like it’s been created with the limitations that apply to the capturing of real events, and in that effort gain a kind of impact that people generally perceive reality possesses. Yet oftentimes the way real stories are related with the greatest impact is to dramatize them with all the trappings of fiction.

Not quite sure of the full implications of any of that, but I hope you’ll agree it’s important to ponder.

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