Madison Cawthorn says "fiction novel" 1984 describes our world today, and he's right

Originally published at: Madison Cawthorn says "fiction novel" 1984 describes our world today, and he's right | Boing Boing


I’m still not entirely convinced that Madison Cawthorn is real, and not just a Hunger Games villain that has escaped onto the Internet.


and he’s right

If only he had ever read it, well that’s a fantasy, I know.


I think it’s more Brave New World but then I doubt this guy read that either.


fiction novel

twitch eye GIF


That quote image in the tweet is fantastic.


Currently reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future. Scary AF.


Of course Cawthorn doesn’t see the irony here, because he has absolutely no idea what’s in 1984, having never read it. But even if someone did explain the book to him, in very small words, he’d still be saying it, as the Trumpian denial of reality, the thing that evokes comparisons with the novel, involves a whole lot of projection anyways.


I always thought we were heading more toward Fahrenheit 451, with our media wall (now pocket-computer) faux friends and the antipathy toward education (particularly “liberal” higher education).


Both, really.



Is that Truman Capote, about to strangle his cat??


Plus (times?) Idiocracy.

I see yahoos where I live acting and looking pretty much just like this:

GIF by Idiocracy


The only real problem I had with Idiocracy was the classist, borderline eugenicist premise that we’re getting stupider as a society because working-class yokels are having too many children.


No doubt!

Like these other prognosticatory texts, it does have its faults. Hey, it’s a profit-seeking product of Hollywood, and thus appealing (ironically enough) to something close to a lowest common denominator.


usefull enough reference for me

When I first formed my theories concerning the nonfiction novel, many people with whom I discussed the matter were unsympathetic. They felt that what I proposed, a narrative form that employed all the techniques of fictional art but was nevertheless immaculately factual, was little more than a literary solution for fatigued novelists suffering from “failure of imagination.” Personally, I felt that this attitude represented a “failure of imagination” on their part.

Of course a properly done piece of narrative reporting requires imagination!–and a good deal of special technical equipment that is usually beyond the resources–and I don’t doubt the interests-- of most fictional writers: an ability to transcribe verbatim long conversations, and to do so without taking notes or using tape-recordings. Also, it is necessary to have a 20/20 eye for visual detail–in this sense, it is quite true that one must be a “literary photographer,” though an exceedingly selective one. But, above all, the reporter must be able to empathize with personalities outside his usual imaginative range, mentalities unlike his own, kinds of people he would never have written about had he not been forced to by encountering them inside the journalistic situation. This last is what first attracted me to the notion of narrative reportage.

It seems to me that most contemporary novelists, especially the Americans and the French, are too subjective, mesmerized by private demons; they’re enraptured by their navels, and confined by a view that ends with their own toes. If I were naming names, I’d name myself among others. At any rate, I did at one time feel an artistic need to escape my self-created world. I wanted to exchange it, creatively speaking, for the everyday objective world we all inhabit. Not that I’d never written nonfiction before–I kept journals, and had published a small truthful book of travel impressions: “Local Color.” But I had never attempted an ambitious piece of reportage until 1956, when I wrote “The Muses Are Heard,” an account of the first theatrical cultural exchange between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.–that is, the “Porgy and Bess” tour of Russia. It was published in The New Yorker, the only magazine I know of that encourages the serious practitioners of this art form. Later, I contributed a few other reportorial finger-exercises to the same magazine. Finally, I felt equipped and ready to undertake a full-scale narrative–in other words, a “nonfiction novel.”

How does John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” or Oscar Lewis’s “Children of Sanchez” compare with “the nonfiction novel?”

The Oscar Lewis book is a documentary, a job of editing from tapes, and however skillful and moving, it is not creative writing. “Hiroshima” is creative–in the sense that Hersey isn’t taking something off a tape recorder and editing it–but it still hasn’t got anything to do with what I’m talking about. “Hiroshima” is a strict classical journalistic piece. What is closer is what Lillian Ross did with “Picture.” Or my own book, “The Muses Are Heard”–which uses the techniques of the comic short novel.

It was natural that I should progress from that experiment, and get myself in much deeper water. I read in the paper the other day that I had been quoted as saying that reporting is now more interesting than fiction. Now that’s not what I said, and it’s important to me to get this straight. What I think is that reporting can be made as interesting as fiction, and done as artistically–underlining those two “as” es. I don’t mean to say that one is a superior form to the other. I feel that creative reportage has been neglected and has great relevance to 20th-century writing. And while it can be an artistic outlet for the creative writer, it has never been particularly explored.


I believe that the term of art is “sacrifice to his muse.”


Cawthorn is very eager to take the title of “Dumbest, most ignorant Congressman” away from Louis Gohmert.


fiction novel

As opposed to all those non-fiction novels out there.

Not the point I know, but gods what a total knob.


Someone toss him a copy of Battlefield Earth. It’s a fiction-novel with breathe-gas.