Photo by Thom Milkovic
Most of us are familiar with the Blind Men and the Elephant story. Its point is twofold:
- No one has a complete picture, even if they were “there in person,” but…
- Everyone knows what they think happened, and what it meant to them
This is true in both fiction and non-fiction.
True, journalists, as non-fiction writers, are supposed to render facts as objectively as they can. But honest, objective fact-finders know that even after interviewing eyewitnesses (“blind men”) their summary will inevitably fall short of “complete.” Hence, “rioting occurred” is more accurate than “the protest turned into a riot” (did everyone riot? Were there no objectors?). And “many wept” is more accurate than “there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience” (did no one roll their eyes and visit the loo?). There’s no such thing as a complete picture, and so, in essence, there’s no such…
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