David Gura enjoying a Hubig's pie.
Here at Talk of the Nation, and at NPR in general, we're pretty excited about David Simon's new series Treme. (And best of all, we got a nod in the pilot! A sly nod, but a nod nonetheless.) Fellow blogger and good eater David Gura noticed not just the NPR namedrop, but the Hubig's pies in the pilot. My husband is a Hubig's fan as well — so that's even more good, gooey company. David Simon, however, notes that there's something wrong with that particular Hubig's.
In the first episode of "Treme," to be broadcast tonight on HBO, a character will reach into her purse and produce an apple-flavored Hubig's pie. She will do this in late November 2005. With the rest of her dessert menu no longer available, the character, a local chef, will then serve the local delicacy to a patron of her restaurant...
True, the Hubig's bakery in the Marigny did not reopen until February 2006, and true therefore, any such pastry found in a woman's purse should by rights be a pre-Katrina artifact and therefore unsuitable for anyone's dessert.
He goes on to make the point that I'm sure someone has tried to teach me in various literary theory classes by way of Aristotle. Here's Simon's lesson, but courtesy of Picasso.
Why? Why not depict a precise truth, down to the very Hubig's?
Well, Pablo Picasso famously said that art is the lie that shows us the truth. Such might be the case of a celebrated artist claiming more for himself and his work than he ought, or perhaps, this Picasso fella was on to something.
By referencing what is real, or historical, a fictional narrative can speak in a powerful, full-throated way to the problems and issues of our time. And a wholly imagined tale, set amid the intricate and accurate details of a real place and time, can resonate with readers in profound ways. In short, drama is its own argument.
You can read David Simon's full letter to his viewers on Nola.com, here.