Monday 11 January 2010

Lights, Cameras, Fiction

It is becoming increasingly difficult to discuss the psychology of fiction in light of the blurring boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. This is particularly true of television, where reality TV has come to dominate programming. Although these shows were permitted to continue during the recent writer's strike in America, this decision seems suspect in light of recent admissions that the content of these shows is often more planned or "written" than not. The controversy surrounding James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces, also exemplifies the public's thirst for a reality that embodies all the thrill of fiction.

A short animated collaboration between cartoonist Chris Ware and This American Life's Ira Glass (below) provides an additional facet for consideration. Admittedly, it does not deal directly with fiction, nonfiction, and how the two may be distinguished. What it does do is provide remarkable insight into how turning cameras on reality transforms us in some very fundamental ways. Given the direction that entertainment media is headed, these changes are certainly deserving of note and perhaps no small amount of concern.

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