Great long-form journalism comes from the author’s irrepressible need to answer a question. Fictional long-form journalism comes from the writer’s irrepressible need to be hailed as an oracle. In the former fabulism isn’t just wrong because it cheats the reader, it’s wrong because it cheats the writer. Manufactured evidence tends not to satiate an aching curiosity.
[…] we now live in a world where counter-intuitive bullshitting is valorized, where the pose of argument is more important than the actual pursuit of truth, where clever answers take precedence over profound questions. We have no patience for mystery. We want the deciphering of gods. We want oracles. And we want them right now.
That part about clever answers taking precedence over profound questions is a wonderfully on-the-nose assessment of our culture’s current predicament: we don’t value truth. Because it’s often unclear. And we’d rather have this thing wrapped up in 22 minutes so we can get on with feeling like we know something for certain and move on to what we’re going to make for dinner.
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