Monday, November 10, 2008

house of leaves essay

The navidson record basically consists of film material, and critiques on what actually happened. It is constantly made out to sound as if it were a giant hoax. For instance, the police are insistent that Holloway is probably in some dark closet space. It is the educated folks who shed the most doubt on this story, attributing most of it to some sort of movie-magic and the uneducated who seem to take in the story. After all, Johnny Truant (used to) work(s) at a tattoo parlor answering the phone and doing other jobs that he says a complete moron could do. Yet, it is he that takes gives into the story the most of all. It begins to systematically eradicate his life as the house eradicates every trace of the intruders. The story (so far at least) seems like a critique on the close-mindedness of “educated” and “knowledgeable” people. The navidson record is written as part film-transcription, part film-evaluation. The evaluations are long and wordy and more often than not, are used in attempt to poke holes in the integrity of Navidsons film. There is no evidence to suggest that the film was anything but genuine and many of Zampanó’s sources are used to explain away what was really happening in that house. However, we have evidence that Zampanó himself was actually frightened/disturbed by this film (and its transcription) as was Johnny. Both are relatively uneducated (albeit, one much less than the other), and both responded to this story by effectively recreating the fear and isolation of the house on ash tree lane. All signs point to (for me at least) the film being a true representation of what happened and Danielewsky presented it this way intentionally. It was meant to be an accurate account of what really happened at the Navidson house and these critics are trying to tear it apart and poke holes in it and completely ignore the fact (or treat it as an enigma... I’m not sure which is worse) that nobody can answer how it could have possibly been filmed if it were not real (they didn’t have nearly enough money or the right technology). It seems like this book is a critique on skepticism even in the face of more than sufficient evidence in favor of some fantastic or supernatural event.

3 comments:

John Fabry said...

I just figured I would give you a quick heads-up that it's actually The Navidson Record, not Report.

Nick Testa said...

yeah, I had it down as navidson record later in the essay, but I guess I wrote it down wrong the first time (the words are too similar to keep straight).

Adam Johns said...

As it stands, this post could have used a revision or two to clarify it. I think one problem is that you're trying to articulate the philosophical concerns of the novel without using/knowing the necessary philosophical language. For instance, we could argue that the book is in large part about epistemology -- the nature of knowledge -- and ontology -- the nature of being. Johny and Zampano are both interesting, in that they are deeply interested in academic/philosophical discourses, and deeply skeptical of them at the same time. Both of them are half Ph.D., half punk runk in their outlook. You're wrestling with this issue, but not in a particularly articulate way...