Author Topic: Messaging in fiction  (Read 498 times)

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Offline Harry Black

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Messaging in fiction
« on: September 16, 2018, 06:37:23 PM »
This has been on my mind for ages and I wanted to put it out there for other perspectives and for holes to be picked.
I've been watching the Shooter tv show recently and there are analogies for many current affairs issues in the show, such as the Proud Boys, the deep state and issues with the supreme court.
The message from the show is that racists are bad and democracy is good etc etc.
We see it a lot in low brow fiction, when there is a situation where a main character has to deal with racism or drugs or whatever very special episode you want to deal with.
The thing is, I dont think this is effective, even if its well meaning.
I've been thinking of late, that the messages that really seem to sink in from fiction are the ones that are never challenged, they are taken for granted by the writer and by the audience as what  :steve: calls a 'gimme' at the start. Some common gimmes from more popular shows are

Big Bang Theory- Nerds are all smart.

House MD- Its ok to be an asshole if you are right.

CSI- There is always definitive and clear evidence (this one has caused real life problems that are measurable).

Every cop show ever- Cops are overwhelmingly good and competent people. Also, liars are easy to spot and victims are always weak or stupid.

Every spy show ever- Hyper competent people keep us safe and we should get out of their way and let them do what needs to be done.

Every vigilante show/movie- Torture works. You just have to do it right.

Almost every show or movie- America is a force for good with the best system of government. Good guys are handsome and dress like spec ops. Capitalism is the best system.

Please do not take any of the above to be implied that those statements are true or false. My point is that it is the things we are not led to question that form part of our default worldview until we actually question it outside of the fiction.

So for example, a more effective spy show might take something else for granted, like the unreliability of torture or the arbitrary 'goodness' of an action that disadvantages another nation etc.
House might lose his job, not due to some mistake, but due to just being an asshole.

I hope this makes sense?
I think unasked questions are our most powerful primers for how we see reality and I'm wondering if anyone else has any thoughts at all about it?

Again, PLEASE do not focus in on the examples I have provided if you want to discuss them. Replace them with assumptions you have noticed. I want to talk about the phenomena or lack thereof rather than the efficacy of torture or get another police misconduct thread in the wrong sub forum.