We like to say that sometimes (especially these times) reality is stranger (or more ridiculous or outrageous) than anything one can find in fiction. And while I do think that this holds true on so many occasions, I also think we're being unfair to how much of the human condition can be found in the stories we create.
I was thinking about how we sat around and watched humanity react to climate change and to the COVID-19 pandemic (I sure hope the sequel isn't around the corner), staring in disbelief at self-destructive behaviors and near-suicidal convictions. (Yes, the ones standing on the other side than you are staring in the exact same disbelief)
But it's all been documented in the world's literature. If you read Albert Camus' The Plague and Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People you get a blueprint of how people react to mass catastrophe. The same with movies like Don't Look Up. How does that happen?
You can say that Don't Look Up is just an allegory reflecting what happened with Covid or climate change. And you'd be right- but so is everything else.
Because humanity hasn't really changed, and we've made the same mistakes in the past (and clearly learned very little). These mistakes are reflected in the stories written, drawn, or recorded by the storytellers of each generation. And I find it charming, fascinating, that they rarely tell the whole story. (We can't all be Émile Zola) Usually the touch of non-realism, the fiction in the fictional story, comes in what the creator (or author or webcomic artist) would like to happen. How they'd like society to progress and evolve from it. A suggestion on how we could leave the scourge we're dealing with behind, and move on to a better human condition.
This doesn't only occur in the recognized masterpieces of storytelling, or even in the ‘serious’ stuff. Watch a Charlie Chaplin movie and the commentary on the problems we face as a society and as humans is right there, for you to think about once you're done genuinely laughing.
How about some Simpsons?
(There are more modern examples but I'm old and haven't watched them. Please add your own)
How about some blockbuster pop storytelling?
The human condition is everywhere in stories, whether they aim to poke at society like Socrates' gadfly or whether they're seeking to simply entertain you. Because we like gazing at the mirror, even if it freaks us out.
In which movies, novels, comics, and webcomics have you found parts of the human condition?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 13, 2022
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