Last night at the Chicago Theater, David Sedaris showed his awareness of the fact-or-fiction controversy by beginning his performance with a disclaimer. He noted that, indeed, not all of the details in the work he would be reading were true–one name had been changed to avoid confusing listeners, and a line of dialog had been rephrased for emphasis. Other than that, he said, everything else was factual.
Clearly chastened, he noted that:
When you play loose with the facts, people get hurt — especially when you’re writing a comic essay.
I’m relieved to find that he’s taking this seriously. If his future work is less funny, at least we, his readers and listeners, will sleep more soundly knowing that his humor is grounded strictly in fact.
(I should note that, because I was holding a beer instead of a notebook, the quote above may not be entirely accurate. Sedaris may have said “truth” instead of “facts,” or even “humorous” instead of “comic.” Let the reader beware.)