From the chapter spin in the Things They Carried!!
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“Spin” is a classic accusation usually made against journalists. When a journalist “spins” a story, they highlight certain facts and leave out others in order to manipulate the reader into believing whatever the journalist wants them to believe. Writing is inherently an act of exclusion. By stringing together a series of fragmented images and seemingly random memories, O’Brien demonstrates that spin is unavoidable.
The Things They Carried is of course related to works of journalism, as “Spin” points out with its very title. But it was published at a crucial time for journalism, when the medium itself was changing. Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote and others were introducing a “new journalism,” where the reporter and his or her biases were an integral part of the story. The influence of this on O’Brien's journalistic fiction is clear. New journalism also affected Michael Herr’s novelistic and intensely personal journalism about the Vietnam War. O’Brien was not the only writer testing boundaries at this time and with this subject matter.