Monday, November 7, 2011

Public Secrets, Secret Authors

Daniel's "Public Secrets," while it had a much deeper point I'm sure, kept making me wonder who on Earth could be the author? It seems as if most of us think that the author is Daniel. I could agree. Or I could just argue for the sake of a blog post.

When I first asked myself this question, I thought of the interviewed as the authors. After all, we see their words, not Daniel's. Daniel just slapped them on a web page. Daniel is the creator of "Public Secrets," but was she the author? Well, there was my big question. Could the author and the creator be two different people?

My conclusion: not really. The creator of a work is always, as we've already discussed in class, compiled of many different people and many different things. The author, the audience, the context, the language... these are all things (but not the only things) that make up a text. In all honesty, I had to tell myself, "Public Secrets" could be compared to many other genres in order to come up with Daniel as the author. The reason I couldn't see Daniel as an author was because Daniel stripped herself of an identity in "Public Secrets."

I'll use an example that is the most comparable I could think of: a newspaper article. More specifically, a news newspaper article. Never mind the opinion page, because that's the one place when a writer in a newspaper gets to have more of an identity. A reporter, however, gets little identity. A reporter is to report. Whatever text a reporter writes that is not a quotation is meant to clarify or set up a quotation. If a reporter writes a piece that includes no quotations, it's pure information (and a little fluff, if need be). A reporter's job is, like Daniel's, to give the story identity so that it can breathe its own life.

I keep thinking of McCloud when I write this. He kept saying that the author had to blend into the background sometimes to get his point across, and the reason for that is getting clearer and clearer. Stick to the story, because the author picked it. The author chose not to write a story about his or her own childhood or culture, so he or she fades into the background so that we as readers may appreciate the story that the author chose to tell.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting observation. When I was going through each of the modules and categories, I kept trying to relate whatever each individual audio piece was saying in line with whatever the over-arching category was that Daniel gave to each module, like "Utopia" or "Public Secrets." In that sense, Daniel is acting as in author in that she has the control to tell the reader or listener what each story told by the inmates is in a context sense. In some way, she is setting up a genre for the stories in each category. When a reader looks as the word "Utopia" as the over arching theme, he or she tries to use that as a guideline to understand what all of the different inmates stories have in common in that particular module, and maybe give a better understanding of why the word "Utopia" was used in the first place. By taking control of the context, Daniel gives authorship to herself.


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