Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Stories about stories

In the 'new' Johnny Depp drama Minamato, the protagonist — a photo-journalist — reminds his bosses that the subsequent story of the cover-up will be at least as big as the story itself. 

Depp has of course had some very personal experience of this phenomenon in 2020, which is why this film has taken a while to hit our screens. 

Us too, both from recent personal experience and from more ancient professional wisdom. 

In 2018 several crimes were committed against us in our neighbourhood. Since then there has been a cover-up, or at least a pretence by the aggressor to position himself as the victim. 

When this sort of thing happens, one has to maintain a clear head. The story itself and the story about the story are two very distinct things. Once they are confused, some of the limpidity takes a hike. 

The story about the story is, in a sense, political. One can easily jump to take sides based on one's existing convictions. The other side will consider you wrong, but nobody can deny you a right to that sort of wrong-headedness. 

But in the case of the original offence, you can be wrong like the people who believe covid is a hoax or that evolution is a lie. Actually factually incorrect. Dumb. 

Nobody has a fundamental right to be mistaken in this way, and although every one of us, in a functioning legal system, is surely entitled to a defence, nobody, especially an outsider, is entitled to shamelessly exploit the weaknesses of the justice system in a country such as this. 

When the infraction is clear-cut, captured on camera and so on, to deny it, or to construct another more complicated narrative in order to divert attention away from this untaintedness, is indeed effectively another crime, one that permits the perpetrator a defence from ever so slightly higher ground — and undeservedly so. 

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