"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


Historical Fiction.

In reading another article this morning about The Path to 9/11, I discovered what it is that really bothers me about this mini-series. I feel as though ABC is treating this as though it were a piece of historical fiction, allowing them the space to make up events and characters, to manipulate things in such a way as to get their point across. I'm not so sure what their point is, but it's just odd to do this. The only historical fiction I ever remember reading is Johnny Tremain. I made an awesome diorama of the incident when he injures (and apparently silver-plates) his hand using an action figure in a tiny handmade three-corner hat. My understanding of historical fiction is that the history stays fundamentally the same, but a character is placed in the events to offer an eye-witness account of things. That seems to be the only acceptable way to tell a story using characters that didn't really exist, but the characters probably shouldn't be making stuff up. That's more like historical slander.

1 comment:

JTB said...

It's so tricky, isn't it. Like the truthtelling a composite character does on a based-on-true-events story. That person doesn't exist and so all those scenes and all that dialogue never happened. But it's a vehicle for truth--a convenient strategy for letting the audience in on crucial information relevant to the story without invoking all the messy details the real life version contains--more people, playing bit parts, for unknown reasons and motivations, stuff that can't be explored without detracting from the main storyline. That in itself doesn't bother me--I'm enough of a writer to get the necessity. But for this particular story, only 5 years away from it and with a bunch of unanswered questions revolving around what did really happen and why, glossing over the messy real-life details seems irresponsible. And raises my hackles: who is making the decisions about how to streamline the story, and what details get glossed, and why? And will anyone feel the need to be responsible about revealing that information? I doubt it.