Recently, uproar was caused by the fact that a TV series killed off a lesbian character , followed by another sudden fictitious demise, as the article mentions. Apparently, enough people can find the time and energy to consider the importance of a TV character dying to make this international news, at least on the internet.
Words fail me. For a few good reasons.
- When art is governed by the politics of the day, in any way, shape or form, it becomes political propaganda.
There was a time when the distinction between art and propaganda was very clear, at least to nations which had suffered the plague of socialism, of nauseating state-lauding works, including common entertainment, all peppered with the day’s indoctrination. Part of the youth now, especially in countries where art has been free of boundaries for decades or centuries, seems unable to see the direction the west is taking. There are sky-scraping road signs reading “do.not.go.this.way”.
This means creativity is completely strangled by PC standards: certain social categories have to be cast as heroes and other categories as villains; a certain narrative must be adhered to; certain feelings have to be stirred up in readers.
It all started with minority quotas in education and employment, going to ridiculous lengths and ensuring the highest level of awkwardness, as well as decreased efficiency, as selection should be based on aptitudes or merits and not on irrelevant criteria such as race or sex.
But trying to enforce actual quotas and politically correct narratives in the fictional sphere, so the world of pink unicorns is complete with a fantasy land, beats the imagination of any reasonable person.
Art is the last bastion of freedom a community has; it’s inseparable from the concept of expressing ideas without any constraint. Trying to stifle and subjugate creative minds, to direct their pathos into the “desired direction” ends up dehumanising the whole of society, when the last of what was meant to be pure and genuine, transcendental, is suddenly controlled.Who in the world is comfortable with the idea of controlling art in a supposedly free country? This is what the Nazis did. This is the hallmark of totalitarian regimes; as soon as they seize power they start burning anything they deem subversive or unpleasant.
Obviously, this is only a television series and anyone who is aware of the nature of television knows it is not meant to get people thinking, or is not innocent entertainment in the slightest. However, I suspect this is only the beginning. How long will it be before writers are challenged by fuming crowds regarding the characters they choose and the fate those characters have?
2. Isn’t art supposed to/ at least allowed to mimic real life?
In real life, anyone can die, and minority status does not grant immortality. One vocal protester I believe said “the LGBT community deserves better”. Again, as if there were some obligation of moral restitution everyone outside the LGBT community shared, some burden of conscience, making anything connected to that community – even fictional characters – untouchable.
3. Maybe, just maybe, we’re spending so much time in front of screens that we’re starting to take fiction too seriously.
Breaking away from reality has become a pastime in itself; it shows how bleak reality has become at times, I guess.The whole saga surrounding “gamers” shows just how deep into public life this escapism has reached; gaming is the new football, basically. It surprises me to a great degree.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against video games or any other entertaining activity of this type; after all, reading and writing fiction (especially writing) are forms of stepping into a different world. Any writer can tell you that they’re not making characters up; they’re simply introducing them to other people. 🙂 But I’m surely not expecting another person to take my characters as seriously as I take them and have the same level of emotional attachment. Of course, when it comes to video games the escape is extremely limited in terms of possibilities; it’s robotic and totally artificial, eliminating imagination from the process.
Getting emotional to the point of protest when a character is killed in a TV series (for practical reasons) seems like too much, especially considering the calculations behind television productions in general.
4. Art is not a bespoke product (unless there is an agreement with the artist beforehand). I know money is involved in the equation… But still.
Of course, I seem to be contradicting myself, as I see TV productions as motivated by anything else but the love of creation. Yet, as mentioned above, I fear for the day that this will be applied to books as well.
Back in the day, there used to be quiet fan fiction to alter the unpleasant ending of a book, for one’s eyes only. There was no chance of actually being able to communicate to whoever had written it (produced a show/ fill in the blank) that you were unhappy with the turn of events and wanted them changed. That was unheard of. In a very good way, I dare think.
Now, it seems the public is treating whatever it views with an acute sense of entitlement, as they would treat a pack of bubblegum or a can of soda.
Does this make me happy? Does this offend me? Does this trigger me? Is this the perfect product I expected? No? Then by all means, I will complain!
It’s fair enough applying that to consumables, but please, leave anything that involves originality and creativity out of it. Especially when you tyrannically decree that the choice someone makes regarding a character is immoral. It is no longer a matter of “I didn’t like it”, it’s a matter of “you screwed up; we deserve better”.
I’ll tell you what you deserve. You deserve nothing. Someone who has such a mutilated understanding of the creative act that they think they can bully others into submission is incredibly arrogant. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it/ read it.