Who decides which reality?

Issues of authenticity and reality-bending have been on my mind quite a lot recently and, as always, the very fact I’m preoccupied with the topics means that I seem to be finding them mirrored all over the place.

However, news of the fake Big Brother monstrosity in Istanbul couldn’t fail to get the cogs turning again. It sounds like the plot to several horror films I’ve guiltily enjoyed, except luckily no one died. They were victims of plenty though.

The thing that’s really intrigued me is the layers of lies and false realities created by Big Brother-style shows. Such as the faked scenes, the manipulation of intent that can be caused with careful editing and even the fact that people, however genuine they claim to be, are sure to be performing from the second the camera switches on.

In a way, this case seems like an extension of the falsity ‘reality’ TV can foster to me. Reports have appeared claiming that the women were told to behave certain ways for the camera, whether by this point they knew they were captive or whether they performed tasks against their will or not is the question that circles around my mind.

Where does the autonomy come in? Where is the line and how are we to know when human rights are being violated? Is it as soon as someone does something on a programme that may be broadcast that is inappropriate or that they aren’t comfortable with? If so, what about talk shows? They are barely ‘real’ but we are shown people and their situations as though it is their reality. What is reality anyway? The story you tell top yourself or the story other people tell you? My brain hurts.

Edinburgh Book Festival and a little good news

The Edinburgh Book Festival programme is out – go look it over while it’s hot and grab tickets before the blue-haired brigade get in there first! Not that I’m one to judge, you can rest assured that if I make it to a venerable age – and manage it with any cash in my pocket – the book festival will be one of my top ports of call.

I’ve worked it once or twice, but this year I’ll be working elsewhere and don’t reckon I’ll manage to make it to many of the events. If I could though, Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman would be on my list for sure.

Sigh, sometimes having a ‘real job’ sucks – even if I am (technically) writing for a living. On the other hand, this week has left my smiling as I had an email from the editor of a literary magazine accepting one of my short stories yesterday. More details as soon as it’s signed and sealed. Was particularly good timing though, my spirits have been well and truly sagging of late. Now I am buoyant again and ready to start editing afresh.

Salinger’s lawyers on the Catcher in the Rye sequel

It looks as though Salinger is set to make a move on the recently announced unofficial sequel to his masterpiece, Catcher in the Rye. The new book, penned by John David California and titled 60 Years Later Coming Through the Rye, has promoted Salinger’s literary agents to consult lawyers, according to theBookseller.com.

The funniest thing about the whole affair for me is this quote from California: “It’s like writing something about Jesus. It’s bound to get people to say something about it. I read something that people think it’s a fast track to getting a lot of attention for a book . . . but it isn’t that way. The book stands on its own – even though it’s ‘holding hands’ with The Catcher in the Rye it’s a vastly different story.”

Surprisingly he hasn’t quite managed to swing me and I’m still unimpressed with his endeavour. 😉

Some tastier literary news appeared today too – the makers of yummy Sweetheart sweets have launched a Forbidden Fruits line inscribed with messages inspired by the Twighlight series. Wouldn’t have been my first choice when there are so many literary greats out there that deserve to make it onto confectionary, but a nice idea anyway. Maybe they should run competitions – haikus for Lovehearts or something? 🙂