Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Manipulating the Narrative

ORIGINAL CONTENT

I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart
You have torn it all apart, I’m watching it Burn

(Hamilton)

The fragility of the narrative is an interesting one. As Eliza’s broken hearted anthem to “erase (herself) from the narrative” insinuates that any narrative can be molded and shaped to produce a certain desired perspective for future generations.

Perhaps one of the most successful narrative manipulation was achieved by a group of southern socialites called the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They picked and chose what to highlight and what to omit, delivering this pseudo-history of the South’s participation in the U.S. Civil War, not as a war of keeping slaves but rather one to be revered, full of heroes.

As I journal / scrapbook in my Hobonichi, I come to realize that I am recording pieces of not only my life but the lives around me, the world as it is today. In the same vein, that which I choose to omit will be as if it never existed, or happened, and with time, it will simply fade out of existence.

What a horribly powerful tool the written word still remain.

So the true question here is should serial killers, mass shooters, and all the ills in the world be forever commemorated for future generations to read about, for the few misguided to be worshipped, perhaps even emulate? Perhaps a pact should be made to report on these atrocities but no name and no photos – deprive them of their narrative but still allowing the world to see the extremes travesties humanity can create.

Twenty years from now, how will January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol be remembered, be taught, be talked about? How will the COVID-19 pandemic be reflected in history? Will there be a continuous debate whether over 600,000 American deaths were staged like the moon landing?

When I was in my journalism class we learned about the different truths and how few things we read are actual truths. As human beings, it is near-impossible to write without any underlying biases. However, I do believe if we are conscious of the fragility of truth as truth actually is, then perhaps we can continue to strive for the lucid unicorn.