The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Optimism

I've been labeled a cynic on several occasions due to my taste in fiction, and my dislike for stories that take place in so-called "brighter and more upbeat" settings. But, I believe it's easy to be optimistic in a world where things are "safe" even with supervillains at large. But when there is true evil at work, when the world isn't fair, when bad things happen but your hero still rises, that is real optimism, I think. I don't just enjoy seeing my heroes put through the wringer, I love seeing them shoved through the grinder. The grinder. Some of them are broken by the grinder, this is where your Frank Castles come in. But those who can go through Hell and back in a world that is unkind unfair... THAT is true optimism. The alternative is wish-fulfillment fluff.

3 comments:

  1. Out of curiosity, what do you think of the 60's Batman TV show?

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  2. Yes, I love those kinds of works too. Wish-fulfillment fluff can be done well so long as it's not "bright and upbeat" to the point of boredom and unbelievability. But usually, the truly optismistic stories in the face of lots of pain and suffering are the best kind.

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  3. that's a good point, but at the same time pain and suffering can be over done (Warhammer 40k is especially guilty, and the latest DC comics have upped the grim dark). There's something nice about a hero, managing to transcend their pain in spite of the hardship. Too much pain and it's impossible to be invested or to give two shits, or you write yourself into a corner. Grimdark doesn't = good.

    Granted there are times when bitter victory is done well. Dresden Files Changes is a great example; the monsters who have dominated south and central america for millennia and caused more misery than hitler stalin and mao are finally defeated, but Harry's lost everything in the process. That was the right balance. Too much grim dark makes it impossible to give a shit.

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