5.22.2004

Anonymous authors and their stories

Don't you ever wonder about the authors of forwarded emails you get? They get no credit for their efforts. Structurally, I admire the fiction of con games from rich dictators who just need a little money to help them buy a silver spoon to dig up their buried treasures in Guatemala. Sad, isn't it? These guys are selflessly broadening our reading tastes and get no credit.

Often I get the ain't-it-funny-the-things-kids-say email. Often, there's something cute buried in the mega-lists, but are these lists real? or did someone make them up?

Here's a story I just got in the mail that I thought beared repeating:

A girl was supposed to write a short story in as few words as possible for her college class and the instructions were that it had to discuss Religion, Sexuality and Mystery.

She was the only one who received an A+ and this is what she wrote:

"Good God, I'm pregnant, I wonder who did it."


Unless earlier versions have disappeared, Doug Grewar of Vryheid, Natal, South Africa on Friday, May 07, 2004 at 18:07:08 (UTC) seems to be the first to post such a story on the web. Is he the true author? Or just another baton-passer?

No, these aren't really stories yet, but with some effort they might be. I'm more interested in the complete anonymity of the authors whose works become briefly famous through wide circulation. D.F. Lewis at Nemonymous is already examining this issue to a degree although some magazine writers eventually announce their authorship--not that they shouldn't. Undoubtedly, it is the allegation of actually having happened which always perks people up. Consider most recently the huge success of "The Blair Witch Project"--despite having little reason to believe its claim for truth. And, well, consider politics--who authors the original story that sets events in motion? Eventually, the author gets hated, but for just a while, your work has put the world into action. See? Fiction can change people. Maybe these guys are just fiction writers at heart: less interested in what is true or in what actually happened than in a truth, i.e. let's get this troublemaker who's bringing our country down. Maybe politics has always been a fiction writer's game.

This is not a post against anyone's particular politics. I left it vague on purpose--to get at the truth as opposed to what actually happened, which I'm not important enough to know. There are a number of ways to fill in those abstractions, depending on whose fiction you choose to believe.

discuss this post at our messageboard