sometimes a detail is a clue

March 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Bestest Holmes, like, ever...

http://www.utne.com/Great-Writing/The-Art-Of-The-Police-Report.aspx

I found myself struggling to land at a consistent position regarding this. Truth and persuasion…should these two be linked as goals? My gut tells me truth should persuade all on its own, that it needs nothing but itself. My gut also tells me all humans are inherently kind and good, so my gut should not  be trusted on these things. So perhaps truth does need a little help, a little “nudging” of words (okay, Gary Lutz? This is where you can nudge your words into place), in order to make it truthier.

What continues to jump up and act out and refuse to behave, in the think tank of my mind, is the sense of unease whenever we entrust others to decide truth for us. Who creates truth and then crafts it so that we accept it? Can we trust him, them? All the time, every single day? In a very American way we do hand over our decision-making abilities to those we trust to tell us only the truth and act only in our best interests – government, media, law enforcement – while recognizing that these systems fail us daily.

I don’t have a point, just that it makes me nervous. Oh, and that I’d love to take the police academy writing class. It sounds like a fabulous way to get in touch with your words and better understand their power.

M

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§ One Response to sometimes a detail is a clue

  • J. says:

    I dug this. I’m really curious to know how Martinez’s police reports then go on to influence the truth throughout the whole justice system thing. Because he does create a version of the truth that is really hard to deny. It implicates you in it. You’d have to say “no, I think that whole baby-rape thing isn’t what it seems.” It brings to mind that Hemingway six-word-story thing that writing teachers and people everywhere can’t help but bring up. I will now be one of those people. “Baby shoes for sale, never worn” is not all that unlike “The mother would not cooperate.” It’s a simple statement of fact (okay, one is fiction–bear with me!) but there’s a divide between what is literally true–there’s some shoes for sale/a witness to a crime–and what is emotionally true (? Question mark because that phrase seems extremely hokey, but I haven’t finished my coffee yet so, I forgive myself) which is, holy shit there’s a baby that is dead/in serious peril. Martinez’s reports don’t just implicate the father as a baby-raper or the mother as an accessory to a baby-raper, but you-the reader-as someone who needs to see how horrible things happen in a world we generally perceive as good. And all with so little change to the “format” of police reports. But it does make me a little uneasy. I form an opinion on something I know nothing about just because of how deftly Martinez writes. How often does that happen without even thinking about it? OH GOD MIND CONTROL MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE UNIVERSE–get out of my brain, Angela Lansbury! SAVE YOURSELVES

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