We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Who would give up the Iliad for the “real” historical record? Of course the writer has a responsibility, whether as solemn interpreter or satirist, to make a composition that serves a revealed truth. But we demand that of all creative artists, of whatever medium. Besides which a reader of fiction who finds, in a novel, a familiar public figure saying and doing things not reported elsewhere knows he is reading fiction. He knows the novelist hopes to lie his way to a greater truth than is possible with factual reportage. The novel is an aesthetic rendering that would portray a public figure interpretively no less than the portrait on an easel. The novel is not read as a newspaper is read; it is read as it is written, in the spirit of freedom.
Picasso expressed the same idea summarily: “Art is the lie that helps us to see the truth.”
I'm with you, I prefer it when people can distinguish between fiction and fact. And, to be sure, artistic expression can blur the distinctions between the two. Sometimes the artist enhances the communication of truth, sometimes not. Sometimes it is pleasing, sometimes it is ugly or difficult. The more effective the communication, the better the artist. Or not? If I may, I will wonder aloud if describing truth as 'special' or 'greater' enhances the communication of truth or hinders it? It seems to annoy me without effecting a greater comprehension of a truth. I fear that describing a difficult concept (truth/reality) by calling it better or new or big or improved and on sale, does not advance the purpose of art. But a wine dark sea will evoke feelings and set a tone whether it's in a book of fiction or seen from the bow of your ship. And, in that state of conjured reverie, you can be transported to other worlds and understand, in feelings and thought, many things. It's tempting to call it special truth, but truth is the apex and once you get there, you've arrived.