2.08.2006

The flip side of the Frey thing

Kenneth J. Harvey, writing in the Times Online, finds that some books masquerading as "fiction," such as John Banville's The Sea, turn out to have facts in them, and real places, and real people! And he has taken it upon himself to blow the whistle on this outrageous practice.

4 comments:

Trevor Jackson said...

Roight! We'll just have that Booker back then. Ms. Rowling? Here you are.

Only fiction about things that couldn't possibly be true from now on.

the plunge said...
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the plunge said...

This man is making a mockery of a legitimate debate. Let me tell you why. With the advent of the Internet and the unchecked growth of other mass media, information has proliferated so thoroughly that normal people are being literally inundated with it every second of the day. At the risk of being politically incorrect, what we have now is an information tsunami, a phenomenon so powerful that it actually threatens the essential stability of society and government. It may sound like an overstatement, but read on.

Our minds are nothing if not information processing devices -- pattern generators -- sense-makers. But the mind has evolved to deal with a certain amount of informational stimuli -- it can take some observations about weather, about hunger, and about the presence of other animals, crunch it together and synthesize a survival plan.

But what brain--what brain, tell me--can pluck every salient fact from the mighty river of internet-age information? What mind can catch every salmon from the rapids, missing none? We've got to be realistic about how to proceed here -- the number of facts is not going to dwindle, nor is the number of fictions. The only way to handle the problem is to ensure that each discrete unit of information is clearly labeled, and given, according to a transparent and well-defined standard, a sensible numerical degree. That way the consumer has built-in protection from those who would exploit them, and he will be free of the paralyzing burden of trying to analyze, classify and interpret everything he or she sees.

Without a credible system to help us determine what is true an what is not, we might as well let go of the lifesaver, and get in a final Our Father.

professorX2 said...

Right. That's why I just read the paper: no deluge there.

And I don't even own a TV, making my government 0.0007% safer against topplage.

Luckily, someone else tells me what's salient, what's true. I just worry about the weather and my appetite.

In fact, I'm not even reading this...