Norman Mailer alluded to this blurring in a 1960s phrase about "the novel as history, history as a novel", while the French thinker Jean Baudrillard, with his theory of "hyper-reality", argued that humans, unable to make sense of the complexities of the modern world, experienced real events as if they were fantasy. Yet such ideas - as the concept of Burn's novel acknowledges - have now truly found their time.
The obvious temptation is to blame journalism, and it's certainly true that these blockbuster news stories are partly shaped by the fact that today's journalists (in print and television) have much more space and much less fear of legal censure than did their predecessors. But I think the news increasingly feels like a novel or screenplay because so many people now live like figures in fiction, defining themselves as "characters" within what artistic criticism calls a "structured narrative".
Friday, December 7
The Panamanian Canoeist?
Sounds like a best seller to me! The Guardian discusses how the hyper-reality of fiction techniques has transformed the way we consume the news: