Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pants On Fire.

This is going to be an interesting discussion. Good for Jacqueline Windh for kicking it off, and I should thank her for asking me to get it going.

Another way to think about the contested boundaries between fiction and non-fiction is as fields and pastures separated by tangles and willow and blackthorn, such that the old stone walls are wholly occluded. You know the wall is in there somewhere, but you don't quite know where, and you can admit as much and even thrash around in the hedgerows looking for it, and you can deliberately trespass, but you can't expect the reader to pretend that trespassing is not what you're doing. The hard stone wall is there, somewhere, and some poor gadgies built it either of their own volition or on someone's orders, sometime, and to pretend there are no walls is to be blithe about the distinctions between graveyards and barley fields, between a poor man's gort and a landlord's garden. It's a kind of self-indulgence unavailable to people who toil between the walls in the actually-existing fields of the world, and who write about and sing about fields and walls that are themselves great works of monumental art. I confess that my predispositions cause me to find any disregard for actually-existing people and fields and songs to be contemptible.

Timothy Garton Ash gets it. Facts are subversive.


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