Why Simon Bugs Me

Overall, my reading of David Simon is that he started out as a journalist with a very specific vision of what journalism was supposed to be and then became disillusioned with the changes that came to the Sun. By then he had begun realizing that television and narrative could do something similar–it had its own kind of power to convey truth. When he made the transition, he really wasn’t able to give up journalism completely. He saw his work on television as a form of journalism and was obsessed with his own authority and authenticity. His work demonstrates that he really believes that he has an almost God-like power to perceive events objectively at the same time that he makes very specific judgments about that reality (even if, as in the case of Generation Kill, he wasn’t even there). Simon constantly confuses his truth with the truth, and while it may very well be that his truth and the truth are quite similar, the fact that he refuses to recognize his true place as a reporter or interpreter of true events really bothers me and is frankly dishonest. Simon may believe that he can separate himself from the situations and the problems, but he cannot. It bothers me that he refuses to realize that he is just as much a part of the system as anyone else. Simon is not outside it all looking down, he is a perspective from within it all. If he were claiming to write fiction, the former perspective would be fine. However, the fact that he labels himself as nonfiction, the fact that the world he is claiming full understanding of is not his own invention but “real” changes the stakes of his claims.

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