BUCKING THE ACCEPTED NARRATIVE
OUR BRAINS like to simplify the bombardment of information coming from all directions at them. They draw conclusions about an issue then file away those conclusions– but not the entirety of arguments, complexities, and nuances leading to them. Once those conclusions, right or wrong, become the accepted narrative, that narrative is embedded like concrete into the minds of thousands– even millions– of people.
THE MEDIA feeds on those narratives. It creates them, expands them and spreads them via headlines, hyperbole, and hysteria.
WITH the Junot Diaz issue we have a narrative that was already created. Sexual harassers everywhere– and they are everywhere. The frantic scramble to out them spread to the literary world. One or two members of the Old Boy network like Lorin Stein at Paris Review were quickly taken down. For a hungry media that wasn’t enough.
WHEN an aggressive activist fed media members gossip, rumors, and exaggerations about Junot Diaz, already worked-up journalists were primed to pounce.
THESE THOUGHTS were occasioned by an exchange on twitter I became part of.
NOTE how minds have already been made up– that Diaz’s guilt in the matter is assumed. Attempts by Heather Quinn and myself to bring up actual facts and evidence met with closed doors. (I ended up blocked.)
Junot Diaz’s fiction used to condemn him? Really? Why?
Because it fits with the accepted narrative about him, which was established by a media frenzy on May 4th and has since become embedded into the literary public’s heads.
But the authentic intellectual questions the accepted narrative.
-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit News