Monday, October 22, 2007

Candidate Debate I

Some weeks ago I took on the various aspects of story in serial gloss, thus sad story, sob story, tall story, cock-and-bull story, et al.

Now, fresh from having written a review on William Trevor's latest collection of short stories,
Cheating at Canasta, and having accomplished my primary goal for all writing--keep reviewing and revising until I have made some connection between two or more previously unconnected dots--I launch forth on what I learned at about nine-thirty, Pacific Daylight Time last night, shortly before a final spell check and sending the review off.

Trevor, I wrote, invariably uses an omniscient point of view. Thus by reduction, he never uses the first person, the I narrator, if you will, the confessional narrator. Ergo (I mercifully did not include that) he does not introduce the potential mischief of the unreliable or naive narrator. Any naivete or lack of reliability that do emerge come directly from the reader's interpretation of the events, which are set in motion by the author's intent.

Previously, I'd thought Trevor's narrative approach was a distinct distancing of himself, a kind of professional detachment from his characters, of a piece with
ENK's observation about why surgeons don't operate on members of their family and my own memory of the old legal bromide, an attorney who represents himself in a matter before a court has a fool for a client. Add to this my notion that an author needs an editor. If the tonsils really need to come out, it is better to have a non-related surgeon do the work.

All of this is prologue.

Aroused by my suspicion that a first-person narrative may be in Talmudic dialog with naivete or reliability, enhanced by my growing boredom and impatience with men and women who would be president of this particular country (and their definition of what this country is) roaming about Iowa and New Hampshire and North Carolina, spending huge sums of money, redefining themselves, bashing Hillary, bashing one another, I have decided to hold a debate of my own. Such candidates as wish to run the Individual will be invited to file application, step forward, present a platform, and respond to at least three major questions: Who are you? What do you want? What are you willing to do in order to achieve what you want?

I imagine the assembled host will want goodly quantities of decent coffee, tea, and water, but in the interests of avoiding any hint of undue influence from lobbyists, I will refuse donations or sponsorships from anyone in the coffee, tea, or water sectors.

We begin with a self who wishes to be known as
Neo Con.

Q: Who are you?
A: Your
Neo Con self.
Q: What do you want?
A: I want you to become financially, socially, and morally conservative.
Q: What are you willing to do to achieve this set of goals?
A: I'll start by bombing Iran because that's what all conservatives seem to want to do. Then I'll get you to start a savings program and convert to a pay-as-you-go plan for any purchases over $100.
Q: What do you mean by social and moral conservatism?
A: No more illegal alien friends, no more ethnic jokes, no more bashing Republicans.
Q: How do I know when you're serious?
A: When I begin bombing Iran.
Q: What's your stand on hedge funds?
A: Those sub-prime borrowers had it coming.
Q: What's your stand on the incumbents?
A: The administration or Congress?
Q: Does it matter?
A: Hey, I'm the
Neo Con around here.
Q: What's your stand on whistle blowing?
A: Hey, I'm the NeoCon around here.

1 comment:

John Eaton said...

And Norman Blake said don't be afraid of the neocons. Hey, where'd that one go?