This morning I was reading a movie review in the Guardian, the newspaper I’m using to ease myself back into reading about what’s going on in the world, sans polls, sans specious columnists who think the job of journalists is to argue about the future rather than report on the forces shaping the present.
So I’m reading “Neruda review - unconventional drama constructs rather than retells Chilean poet's life,” by Benjamin Lee, and I get to this sentence: “film-makers have been making more ‘constructed biopics’, taking elements, ideas and themes then mashing them together to make something less familiar.”
Uh oh, the little voice in my head starts to nag.
I realize this isn’t unusual in movies, many of which are “based on” or “inspired by” real events, but in light of the current emphasis on “fake news” and other oxymoronic assaults on language and truth and all that is good, it now worries me even more.
In this same edition of the Guardian, there’s an opinion piece by Jonathan Freedland titled “Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies.”
I know, there is a difference between art and lies, a difference between creative license and, say, padding one’s resume. And I know there’s a difference between “fact” and “truth,” which is why good fiction resonates and uplifts while a bad biography leaves one sorry trees died for the paper on which to print the book.
What’s to stop, say, a narcissist with the temperament of a spoiled five year old from deciding that, rather than making speeches about substantive policy issues, he’ll free-associate to match the mood of his audience, basking in the cheers for certain words and phrases that get people riled up, smearing on adverbs rather than looking in-depth at any one topic, bragging about stuff he never did and hiding much of what he actually had a hand in, making up his own “constructed biopic” as he goes along and riding it into the Oval Office.
That’s not a movie. That’s “real” life. It is as much a mirror of the state of our society as is any art.
It’s a difference of intent, I tell myself. Art is intended to be a construct.
So all one needs to do is prove intent when separating the truth of art versus the lies of a con artist.
As I said in my previous post: We should live so long.
even the crow
even the storm