The March For Non-Fiction
Washington, DC (Dissociated Press) May 27, 2017 Organizers, including Bob Woodward, Kevin Spacey, Antonia Fraser, Ken Burns, Lauren Hillenbrand, Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Dawkins, and others announced today, plans for a “March For Non-Fiction” in Washington, DC on June 17, 2017. Flanked by dozens of other biographers, reporters, documentarians, historians, and writers of non-fiction, Mr. Burns stated, “We have had enough. Non-fiction has been under attack for too long. It is time to fight back against unreality.”
“Even worse,” Ms. Goodwin stated, “Fiction is overrunning reality. No one can write the history of current events without it sounding like satire, or worse, farce.” Bob Woodward added, “It is getting as if The Washington Post has become magical realism, or something out of the pages of Kafka. Don’t get me wrong. Kafka is great. But does it seem to you like the country is being run by a big cockroach?”
“And non-fiction itself is under direct attack,” added Ms. Fraser, “when even photographic evidence of the size of a crowd is called fake news by the leader of the free world and millions of people believe it, then what is next? Speaking in tongues? National Seances? Burning non-fiction books? It is time, politically as well, to stand up for non-fiction.”
Lauren Hillenbrand added, “But the more overwhelming problem is spiritual. Even accurate and genuine non-fiction reads like a novel, and a bad one at that. It seems that the excellent John le Carré novel, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, has been terribly rewritten to become, The Spy Who Blithely Tweets From the White House, and is part of the daily headlines. Perhaps most interesting is that even those tweets double down on fictional content, by putting mundane words, like ‘tapes’ and ‘evidence,’ in quotes.”
Organizers announced that the March for Non-Fiction is to begin in front of the Capitol a 9:00 AM, on June 17, and will proceed to the Lincoln Memorial, where there will be speeches. Organizers will not confirm the rumor that former President Barack Obama will address the crowd with a speech entitled, “I Have a . . . Set of Indisputable Facts.” In a nod to the Women’s March, participants are being asked to wear hats made out of newsprint, as depicted, and as they wore at the news conference.
It was noted that not all organizers were representatives of the non-fiction realm. There were also many novelists, actors, screenwriters, and other writers of fiction, and makers of movies and television shows, most notably Messrs. King and Spacey.
When asked about their involvement, Mr. Spacey distinctively stated, “The explosive incursion of fiction into the territory of non-fiction has diluted and expanded fiction to the point that almost everything genuinely fictional is too boring and mundane. What does my ‘House of Cards’ character have to do now? Eat babies? Drag their partially consumed carcasses behind him like cans behind a newlyweds’ car? Hey, there’s an idea for the March!”
“I go from the headlines to my keyboard, and for the first time in years, I find I have writer’s block,” the normally prolific Mr. King added. “How can I write a horror story, when we have all been immunized to horror and by horror? My imagination is confounded by the seeming fiction of a corrupt family enterprise taking over the United States for personal gain, and flaunting it. And that is just a part of it.” Asked to clarify, he muttered, “I mean, you just can’t make this shit up.”
An interesting little debate broke out near the end of the news conference, between Mr. Dawkins and Mr. King. “Actually, fiction has reigned over non-fiction for millennia,” Mr. Dawkins said, “We just have never talked about it much before, and do so only now because the quality of the overwhelming fiction is so poor.” Mr. King said, “I am not sure I follow you.” “It is more a question of belief,’ Mr. Dawkins added. “This current batch of fiction is less believable than that which has governed before.” “Oh, I see,” Mr. King added. “You are talking about organized religion.”
Organizers stressed that the seeming demise of non-fiction at the hands of ever-encroaching fiction is simply bad for both. The end result will be nightmare. Everyone who appreciates fiction, non-fiction, or both, and who wants to stand up for them, is asked to don a newsprint chapeau and head on down to the National Mall on the morning of June 17.
(Gerald Weaver is the author of the novel, The First First Gentleman, August 2016, London Wall Publishing. It is among other things a sly tribute to almost all the novels of Charles Dickens. His well-received first novel, Gospel Prism, was published in May 2015. Each of its twelve chapters paraphrases a great work, by Cervantes, Montaigne, Shakespeare, etc. Harold Bloom said it was “remarkable” and “charming but disturbing.”)