Why is it that people defending purportedly innovative art always seem to fall back on the most shopworn cliches and the hokiest Romantic-hero narratives to do so?
Excellent question, a propo the lyric essayist John D’Agata’s refusal to be edited. I can understand the perspective that says the essayist is an artist too, and thus should be free to pursue art rather than pure reportage. But (as a wannabe essayist myself), I’m convinced enough of the aesthetic qualities of the real to want to privilege them above my own essayistic constructions. Stranger than fiction, they say. On this, I’m with Laura Miller, who insists that fact-checking isn’t so much necessary as it is good for you.