It’s funny because it’s true
A Slate reprint of an article on David Sedaris and his ‘imaginary’ nonfiction was interesting to me because it asked if readers would accept the same reasoning– that making stuff up allows Sedaris to ‘suggest larger truths’–from hard news reporters: Jayson Blair, etc. But then, asks the writer, doesn’t fiction allow you to suggest larger truths just as easily?
I think about this sometimes in relation to reviews and little posts. On Paper Thin Walls I sometimes use ‘we’ when I mean just me, or I’ll make up the second part of the link to wrap up the joke I’m on. It’s grafting but obvious grafting, and something I don’t feel like I could pull off in a review. In my Tegan and Sara review I briefly referred to Death Cab For Cutie as ‘fellow Lesbian band’ Death Cab For Cutie. Obviously not. But judging by the quality of mail I receive @ my Pitchfork address, a lot of people would have factchecked that, not taken it as a joke, and been angry at the little lie.
Anyway two different things, I guess, except the article talks about nonfictional humor being given a special pass because it’s humor. As for defiantly calling it nonfiction just for the audiences’ sake: I would like to mention my own mother, who won’t go see a movie unless it’s based on a true story. We had to tell her “I Am Legend” was a true story to get her to go. There’s no way she believed this, but she suspended her disbelief, just so she could sit through it.
Sedaris has a new book out, which is why the article was reprinted. Mark observed the season’s first case of Sedaris smugness this week, the look on someone’s face when they’ve pulled out a Sedaris book on the subway, as if you can’t get “Me Talk Pretty One Day” out of the book dispenser at the airport as well. As if, if you expect everyone to know what you’re reading it can’t be worth being smug about anyway.