Thirty years ago or so, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, and some other “journalists” set about deliberately melding journalistic “fact” with fiction; the suggestion was that this is what mainstream journalism was doing without acknowledging, so they (Wolfe and Thompson) would foreground the melding.
As I and many others (Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard, for example) see it, the usurpation of “fact” has moved very rapidly, even exponentially, along with the almost total reliance on technology. Information becomes disinformation without apology; one datum contradicts a previous datum posted a few hours before; medical technology makes no distinction between the “artificial” and the “natural.” For example, when Janet Jackson’s wardrobe “malfunctioned” a few years ago during the Super Bowl halftime show and a “breast” was exposed, the institutionalized media went wacky, but nobody pointed out that it wasn’t her 45-year-old breast at all but rather the expensive surgically implanted “artificial” nubile breast that was briefly exposed.
Before the techno-cult became omnipotent there was at least a nominal distinction made between the “real” and the image or mask. Now, the cynicism is such that virtually everything depends on the efficacy of the mask. The notion of sincerity and authenticity (in Lionel Trilling’s words) simply has no purchase.
Hence, my use of docufiction attempts to ape the mainstream culture while deconstructing it; the deconstruction is what puzzles less discerning readers, who don’t see the pastiche element, don’t see the deliberate exaggeration and “hyper-reality.”
How does this make the reader feel? Disconcerted, I hope. With Brecht (contra Aristotle), I’d like my reader to come away from having read my work pent rather than purged; with troubled questions on his or her mind, rather than feeling virtuous after his vicarious catharsis.
Here’s where I feature my docufictions, including sample chapters and stories. To read more about my fictions and nonfictions, follow the links on this page.
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