Are You The Storyteller Or The Person To Whom The Story’s Being Told? It Matters.

I wake up every day (these days) to the same conundrum (that word again!):  I find myself ‘scratching my head’ about the fact that I am, yet again, SCRATCHING MY HEAD.

I’m not even talking about the state of Perpetual Agita that every sane person experiences daily when confronted with the constant flood of of Trumpian WTF-twisted ‘logic’.

I’m talking about the America News Media’s consistent inability to report this story.

I don’t think I’m alone here in wanting the MSM to just do this better.  They always ‘seem’ confounded by new details — as if the ‘new details’ just undermined whatever they thought was going on.  Or they ask questions that don’t feel ‘researched’ or guided by knowledge of the subject or the current state of that knowledge.

Even worse, they say things or engage in panel discussions that seem either oblivious or willfuilly ignorant of The WHOLE Story As It Is CURRENTLY Publically Reportable.

What do I mean by that?  Let me put in in ‘storyteller’ terms… It’s like turning in to episode 50 of Game of Thrones only to find the characters acting like it was still Episode One.

Ummm, guys?  The audience knows a lot more now.  They’re starting to ‘get ahead’ of you… Starting to?  They’re MILES ahead.  The RED WEDDING happened fer Chrissakes!

See how strange and — dumb — that is?

The MSM can’t even see the distant dust trail of some of the Citizen Journalists who’ve been REPORTING this story.  Now, mind you — we’re not talking ALL of the MSM.  There are some REMARKABLE reporters and journalists doing yeoman’s work to wrestle this fucker to the mat.  We all know who THEY are.

And they are the ones who — like these Citizen Journalists —  are doing ONE thing the REST of the Fourth Estaters are not: Thinking like STORYTELLERS rather than the person to whom the story is beinig told.

There’s a difference.  Of course there is…

The VERY FIRST THING any storyteller (who knows how to tell a story) must do is suspend his audience’s sense of ‘disbelief’.  I need to create a kind of ‘alternate reality’ in which my story will take place.  It needs to function in most ways like ours (or the story will be too complicated to easily explain).  But certain things have to be able to happen in that universe that can’t happen in OUR universe.

If I tell you a joke, for instance, whose punchline relies on a TALKING HORSE makiing a snide remark to a Bartender about the price of the drinks in his bar — the joke will die horribly if the audience’s first response is ‘But– horses can’t talk’.

The audience (without ‘thinking’ about it) says to itself — ‘In this world, horses CAN talk’ — and therefore the joke is funny (one hopes).

And therein lies ‘our problem’.

The majority of our News Media are STILL the guy thinking we live in a world where Horses can say snide things to Bartenders.  And they’ve begun to think it’s real.

To be a storyteller, you have to have PERSPECTIVE.  You have to have the widest possible overview of your story in order to even begin telling it (otherwise you’re just going to wander around inside it, lost).  You kinda have to KNOW what the ending is (IN ADVANCE) — or what the ending MIGHT BE.  It is a fact of writing life that characters — if you really get down to their organic core — can take over their own arc or even the whole story.  But the writer usually has some idea that that could happen.  Because they know the character’s past (in INTIMATE detail) — and how that led to the character’s present (in intimate detail) — and how THAT will lead to the character’s future.

What any character did yesterday is impactful on what they are doing today.   Ditto what they did last week, last month et cetera.  These actions and words and even THOUGHTS all need to be part of how we understand THE CHARACTER in THE PRESENT — so that we can ‘predict’ in a way our audience will accept what they will do in the FUTURE.

Take Donald Trump for instance…

Nothing Donald Trump ever does or says surprises a storyteller — because every last bit of that was built in to the character from the get-go:  the racism, the pettiness, the emotional cruelty, the sociopathology, the cheating and lying — especially the lying.  And the sexual predation.

These are all things we KNOW about the character — have KNOWN about him.  Our STARTING POINT with him shouldn’t be where it is — where we experience outrage and consternation and moral indignation EVERY DAY at whatever awfulness this petulant man-child said or did…

From a storyteller’s point of view, Donald Trump’s presidency STOPPED MAKING SENSE the day he rode down that elevator and called most Mexicans rapists… It was fried to a crisp the day we heard Donald Trump ADMIT ON TAPE (fer fuck’s sake!) that HE’S A SEXUAL PREDATOR.

And yet… we accepted those things — rather, the people REPORTING THE STORY — THE STORYTELLERS — accepted that… what?  This was just how Donald Trump is?

The Guy To Whom The Story Was Being Told said “Yup.  I believe it.”

The Guy To Whom The Story Was Being Told said “Yup.  This does not disqualify Donald Trump from being president”.

As if that could EVER possibly be true IN OUR WORLD…

If the Good Storytellers and Journalists who ‘got’ this story from the beginning had been the ONLY ones reporting it?  I have a feeling I wouldn’t be telling you THIS story…

 

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