Stranger than Fiction

In the Financial Times (I know, I know) yesterday there was an article headlined Drama is struggling to match the reality of Donald Trump. It’s behind a paywall unfortunately, but it discusses, albeit briefly, how “satire, theatre and TV shows are challenged with the restless US news agenda”.

This type of article on this subject has appeared more and more frequently since Brexit, since Trump, and whenever I do read something along these lines I’m always reminded of JG Ballard’s comment concerning writers and the media, which still seems relevant for today, even more so:

The writer can’t compete with the world of the media landscapes inventing enormous fictions at a rate no writer can match

I don’t think the word “can’t” here is an admission of failure, rather Ballard saying writers should not concern themselves with competing (which is quite different from not engaging) with those media landscapes. Ballard’s comment, however, is primarily aimed towards the writers of novels and short stories. For one writer of a political TV drama, who had to change a whole storyline, it’s all perhaps easier said than done, especially when it feels like the media landscape is actively seeking to compete against you:

No matter what we do, the audience is going to think we write the news

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