Last night, Walrus, Jen and I went to see John Hodgman speak at the City Arts and Lectures series at the Herbst Theater in SF. It was, as was anticipated, highly entertaining--Hodgman's quirky genius for bullshit is unmatched.
It got me thinking, though, about bullshit of all kinds, and a semi-private wish that I've harbored for a long time: the pseudo-documentary. This is distinct from the mockumentary in that it is not intended as a platform for satire, like Waiting for Guffman or Zelig, but is rather a dead-serious film intended to inform the audience about something that does not, in fact, exist. There are glimmers of this on occasion; The Discovery Channel's The Future is Wild came awfully close by speculating (wildly) about what life might be like in hundreds of millions of years--the spear-chucking tree octopodes were pretty awesome, and shows like Star Wars Tech almost get there, but fall short by turning into ads for their subject matter.
What I really want to see is what's on the Discovery Channel in the Star Trek universe. It seems to me that some really cool ideas are being done a disservice by the need to connect them to a narrative with characters, resolution, and conflict.
Walrus and I had a brief opportunity to do something like this when we produced a magazine for a wierd sci-fi spaceship simulator we were involved with in the early '90s. We became the creative force for shaping the narrative surrounding this uber-geek enterprise, and it mainly took the form of an in-context magazine written for the consumption of not the players of the game, but for their in-game personae. I guess it was kind of an exercise in role-playing, really, but I liked the idea of it in a more abstract way.
I'd like to kick around the idea of a Journal of Unreal Studies--a forum for all that doesn't exist yet bears discussion nevertheless. Any ideas out there?