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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Point and Counterpoint: Is Story Dead?

Yesterday, I excerpted an article from the Sunday New York Times magazine, about the ascendance of "visual literacy." Today on Arts & Letters Daily (please be careful, this website is like crack. I'm serious. Don't even look.) there was an article by Sam Leith of the Telegraph with interesting and very complimentary take on the same subject:


"Tell me a story." It's a plea that echoes through the ages: not only the ages of human civilisation, but the ages of man. As a child, tucked up and ready for bed.

As an adult, settling deep into a popcorn-scented cinema seat as the house lights go down. In old age, becalmed, combing your memories. Telling stories is as old a game as language itself.

So it's odd - not to say alarming - to read reports that some people seem to think we're on the verge of running out of narrative. A group of academics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in cahoots with some Hollywood moguls, have announced the opening of a "Center for Future Storytelling".

Click HERE to read the rest...

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Steve Axelrod said...

Ironically, this very narrative of story's survival is a fascinating story itself, full of suspense and cliff-hangers, which people have been telling for decades. Launching into a new chapter of "The Perils of Peter Plot" or "Indiana Jones and the temple of Post-Structuralism" simply proves that the durable old what-happens-next construction continues to endure.
When I was growing up, I kept hearing that the novel was dead, and wondering who had killed it. The suspects change: movies, radio, TV, the internet. But the charges never stick and the 'victim' keeps being seen gadding about town, sharing a raft with a tiger, solving the DavInci Code, running the Afghan kites, solving the murder of the new Messiah among the 'frozen chosen' of Sitka Alaska. My advice: save the euologies for a while. To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the story's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Julie Gray said...

Yeah, unfortunately, that's what I'm thinking too, Christine. More fair and while it's less interactive, it's also kind of fun since I can probably get some pretty neato guest judges. Maybe Wavers can read the top three and then we'll all be surprised by who the guest judge chooses. I like to keep voting interactive but the friends and family factor does come into play.