SportsCenter: The Documentary? A Response to Pratt


The three most popular theories for distinguishing documentaries from audiovisual works of fiction are those of Carl Plantinga, Gregory Currie, and Noël Carroll. Yet all three theories fail to provide a basis for excluding live sports broadcasts (LSBs), such as televised football games, from the documentary category. Since LSBs are widely considered to not be documentaries, a correction is needed. Henry John Pratt proposes excluding LSBs from the documentary category using an additional criterion: documentaries must be accounts. I criticize his proposal and defend an alternate method of excluding LSBs from the documentary category by proposing instead that documentaries must not be live productions.

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism