I recently was sent a tweet about popular culture, mainly:
- Fight Club
- Rick and Morty
- A Clockwork Orange
- Catcher in the Rye
and the short Tumblr post/comment thread warns anyone who knows somebody of these things to be their favourite work of fiction.
I can agree in some way, even though I don’t necessarily agree with the explanation. The works all display bad things, but since I’ve explained on this blog before, negative and aggressive emotions have their world in fiction without justification.
I had a conversation that I hopefully will never forget with someone recently where we talked about the word dystopian and where they argued it was probably en par with the word futuristic, because much of the world is taken a rather… populistic and negative turn.
The reality of this is obviously up for discussion. Much of the world is improving and the media make money on fearmongering, but for the freedom of speech or privacy we give up, there certainly are low expectations for the whole of humanity as we know it in some aspects.
To be clear about this, or to boil it down to a single quote:
I don’t think somebody who chooses a grim and dark work of fiction is fundamentally flawed or misunderstands the work as the dystopia it is.
I do think that many people are disgruntled with society and politics at large, for many reasons, often based on short-sightedness.
Which fantasy or science-fiction universe we feel most at home in, we can do little about. It is a result of our experiences and the ideals we hold close. The Expanse is a great example of believeable Sci-Fi, because it’s not clean and full of power struggle. Things are bad, because there are humans.
Not believing there is a future without war, struggle, rape and violence is very natural to me. Even though there are supernatural seeming things, I feel like this can be real a few hundred years from now.
Sin City isn’t real, but the abysses of humans displayed in it are, so it feels generally believably to me. They are extreme cases, but they do reflect reality more than people altruistically wanting to just “get along”.
That doesn’t mean I call everyone a fool who believes in happy endings, but it’s harder to believe for me. Lucky is the only word I find for my current situation, not a “natural development” how things turn out for everybody.
Every spectrum of emotion deserves expression in fiction and fantasy. The heroes die and even Frodo loses a finger while not even trying to throw the ring into the mountain.
Many of us have watched House MD and admired him for his intelligence, but not for his pain, struggle with addiction or antisocial disposition.
There will always be shadows coming with the light, if in fiction or real life. Believing everything will turn out alright, to me, is disconnected from how much you try to make things right.