The Art of Immersion:
Fear of Fiction
In Frank Rose’s article he is talking about how different writers and critics write about television and being immersed in it verses reading print. They say that its appeal draws you in then becomes real life for those immersed in it.
Rose states that authenticity isn’t what we really want; it’s what we think we want. I think that’s true for a lot of people because they take what they see on television and try to play it out in real life because they apply scripted solutions to real life problems most of the time. In using an example with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, turning fiction into real life would be that some readers/movie goers actually believe that past acquaintances, families, loved ones, friends, etc. can and would (out of care and love) visit them to warn them of a path they are headed that might lead them to doom, in the hopes to turn the person toward the right path. Now whether one believes in ghosts, or mediums, or spirits or the spiritual realm aiding in life doesn’t suppress that the idea it’s usually a ghost or such a one who haunts and taunts, and torments – not help. Angels or God or living beings are usually the ones helping. But when reading this semi-horror story from Dickens, we may tend to accept the visitation of a ghost (especially of whom we were familiar with before they were dead).
The word “immersed” was interesting to me because it kind of means to be sucked-in, or completed covered by dipping in liquid. Sticking to the “sucked-in” non-formal meaning – made me look at a few sentences in Rose’s article to which I agree. They are when Faber (a character in Ray Bradbury’s writings on Fahrenheit 451) replies to a man saying that his [own] wife declares that books aren’t real, says in ¶ #6, p. 367, “Thank God for that. You can shut them and say `Hold on a moment!’ But who has ever torn himself from…a TV parlor?...It is and environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth.” So while the wife is saying books aren’t real, assumes that she thinks her “televisors” are, and paraphrasing Faber is saying: that one watching TV hold its contents as true because they are immersed into it as much as to call it “real life” and while they say books aren’t real - he is acknowledging that that’s the real truth – you can close it when you want because the printed book doesn’t have the same holding effect on someone like the television. That in essence, the same way someone feels about a book not being real is the same way they should feel about TV. About fantasy and ten second solutions to a major problem; getting rewarded for every good deed; always catching the bad guy; and always falling in love with the ideal person of your imagination – I agree that TV is more immersing than the printed book.