Stranger than fiction

Sometimes I am reminded that though the fiction we create can be pretty weird, reality has a way of trumping our imaginations every single time.

Take The Act of Killing, a documentary by filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer. I heard about it on an interview he did on The Daily Show, which I suggest you watch, because Mr. Oppenheimer describes the surreal madness of his film far better than I ever could, and also because it’s free on the internet. Isn’t the future wonderful?

The film follows men who murdered thousands in Indonesia in 1965-66, mass murders which they have not only escaped punishment for, but which politicians apparently brag about. Mr. Oppenheimer talks of twisted reenactments of brutal murders based on favored movies spliced with the tortured consciences of men who have never come to terms with the atrocious crimes they committed…even the description spoke to me. I intend to seek out the film to get the full, soul-rending experience. Isn’t the past wonderful?

But as I stood there listening to that interview, cutting up vegetables in my kitchen, a thought struck me – I would never in a million years have thought of a story like that. Perhaps I’m too nice of a guy, but I’m constantly surprised by the stories I hear, these uplifting and horrific tale that I would have never thought of, and yet they actually happened here on this planet I inhabit.

Fiction is remarkable, but reality is as well. It’s not always pleasant, though. Not by a long shot.