Fictional weblog narratorsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Medley Discussion : One Thread
What do you think of the idea of a fictional weblog narrator? (See Jan. 7th entry.)
-- Ms. Medley (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 07, 2000
Over the years I've had a number of friends who've snootily said "I don't read fiction."
Until I can personally verify otherwise, I assume that everything I read is fiction. Further, I've found that because there is no attempt at delusion (self or otherwise) when writing fiction, often I get better insights into life from fiction than from the alleged "non-fiction".
I've reason to believe that the author of at least one of the 'blogs on my daily rotation deliberately skews perspectives and events to make it less easy to connect the blog to real life. I don't think that this makes that author's perspectives any less valid, in fact I believe that it allows deeper self-expression because there's less worry about recrimination.
-- Dan Lyke (email@example.com), January 09, 2000.
I was surprised that the one substantive answer I got when I asked that question in my Log was someone who said "I definitely wouldn't tell anyone that it was for certain fiction; that ruins the magic." I'm *sure* there are people out there who think the opposite thing; I guess they just don't read my Weblog. *8)
The main thing that keeps me from putting up a purely fictional Weblog is *time*. blogs take work! I'm not sure whether a fictional one would take more or less work. Probably just different. If I did do it, I'm not sure how obvious I'd make it that it was fictional. I have an existing online pseudonym or two that everyone knows is pseudo already; if I used one of those the issue wouldn't really arise. But if I started a brand-new one, giving intimate personal details of a fictional life, how obvious would I make the fictionalness? I'm pretty sure I would admit it to anyone that bothered to send email to the fictional person. But would I post it on the site? How obviously?
Unless I win the lottery and the kids suddenly grow up and move out, though, all these questions are probably moot... *8)
-- David M. Chess (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 10, 2000.
Well, the two main things that pop into my mind when this is brought up are "The Spot" (www.thespot.com, isn't it dead but still online?), which purported to be a Friends-style house full o' hormonally blessed youth, everyone writing catty personal journals about each other; and the weird tale of Mr Bungle, a certain online MUD persona that invaded a happy little community with the full intent of playing spoiler, up to and including an online "rape" of another MUD character (possibly the first Village Voice article about life online). Oh, and the first well-known split personality on the net, Mark Ethan Smith. Okay, there are three main things .... (pace Eric Idle).
What bugs me about this is that it ultimately ends up seeming phony (The Spot), malicious (Mr Bungle), or pitiable (MES). In a way, it's abusing the power of the net to create false identities, with questionable interest and utility beyond that. As a converse example from the real world, consider the reaction to that Reagan biography. The fictional narrator got more press than anything about the president.
I could see a latter-day Abelard & Heloise, I could see a digital Absalom! Absalom!, even a Nabokovian www.palefire.com, every byte at some level suspect. But these works transcend the medium to affect the reader; and they are not placed into the world as false objects. To me, this kind of exercise is only worthwhile if you have such ambition.
That said, there is a strong tradition in journalism of the proxy author or character, notably in Royko's work, where Chicago or national political conundrums would be reduced to street-level argot in a conversation with "Slats Grobnik" or one of Royko's many other characters. But that was always done with an authorial aside that clued you in. When many similar columnists have tried the same thing with not-so-outrageous interview subjects, they've been raked over the coals professionally.
Since I see blogging as closer in technique to the world of journalism than literature, I would take journalism's examples as paramount.
-- Dan Hartung (email@example.com), January 11, 2000.
This site http://shitstorm.pitas.com has shown up in a few weblog lists (genehack, kempa) and seems to be a fictional weblog thingy. Pitas definitely would make it easier, but then again this site doesn't seem to be updated that often, so...
-- Alessandra DellaBate (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 16, 2000.