Fictional characters in a real world: Unruly fictionalised encounters in Borat, The Ambassador, and the Yes Men’s media hoaxes

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Abstract

This chapter is a study of the critical potential and ethical implications of encounters between fictionalised characters and unsuspecting real people. Through the case studies of Borat, The Ambassador, and the Yes Men’s media hoaxes, I aim to show how the use of fictionality as a performative strategy creates a liminal interaction that possesses a critical force which cannot be created in either classical documentaries or fiction films. The article brings together theories of fictionality as a rhetorical strategy and theories of unruly documentary artivism to investigate to whom the guise of fictionality refers and to which risks they are exposed. It is argued that the practice of unruly artivism can be characterised as a specific type of metamodernist art, and that encounters between fictionalised characters and real people (which I term ‘unruly fictionalised encounters’) constitute a subgenre which is characterised by the ethically-complex deceit of the unsuspecting real people.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFact and Fiction in Contemporary Narratives
EditorsAlice Bell, Jan Alber
Number of pages18
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date11 May 2021
Pages206-223
Chapter5
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-76493-7
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Keywords

  • Fictionality
  • The Ambassador
  • The Yes Men
  • Borat
  • Satire
  • Hoaxing
  • Unruly artivism
  • Unruly fictionlised encounters

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