Filling The Void With Truthful Fiction

I love stealing great stories from my friends' Facebook pages — somehow, no matter how much news I consume, I miss even the stories that are tailor-made for me. By way of Maud Newton's feed, I discovered two of my favorites on a single page, David Carr on David Simon, this time, on the development of Simon's new series, Treme, set in post- Katrina New Orleans. Although Simon says it is not really a show about the aftermath of Katrina, but instead about "why New Orleans matters," it is Carr who makes an interesting point about why television — some of it — matters, these days.

One of the unacknowledged benefits of a media environment that has atomized beyond the networks — endless cable channels, digital production and all kinds of new formats — is that it has created a sweet spot to reconsider history somewhere between the rain-lashed correspondent shouting back to the evening news anchor and, years later, the History Channel deconstruction of great and terrible events.

I spent much of the weekend watching Battlestar Galactica, which spent an entire season exploring an allegory based on the Iraq War, as well as Masterpiece Theatre's Little Dorrit, itself based on a Charles Dickens satire of government failure. In the wake of explosive news failures, it's beginning to look like fiction may be at least one excellent way to fill the crater that's left.

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