Fiction and Society

A life of fantasy or a fantastic life?

Kyle Krinerby Kyle Kriner

You know, I've asked myself more than once, why do people love fiction?  I guess it's obvious for most people.  It's escapism.  It's nice to watch someone entertain you for an hour and a half, and forget about your stress for a bit.  But for others, is it more than that?  Do they plunge themselves into fictitious worlds simply to avoid their own?  How thin is the line between escapism and literally escaping?

 There's two sides to the coin I suppose.  You have the pre teen girls who watch Twilight simply because wolf boy has nice abs.  But you also have the mildly creepy middle aged man who relates to Edward's pain and takes it on as his own.  He is trying to live vicariously through him and share his experiences.  Now does that mean that this particular work of fiction is so great that it elicits that sort of response?  No.  But for "Joe Schmoe" to spend two and half hours crying over it, it is probably more of a testament to how messed up his life is, that he'd rather feel someone else's fictional pain than deal with his own stuff.  Either that, or he's just a cryer.

So is it wrong to vicariously live through fiction? No.  Can it be enjoyable?  Of course.  But where do you draw the line?  The funny part about this is what society typically deems ok to enjoy.  For some reason if you enjoy sports and action movies, then someone who reads comic books or watches geeky movies may seem less than human to you.  I guess either some of the more primitive minds can't fit all of these interests into their small brains, or they assume that since you read comic books or watch geeky movies, then you're escaping what's real.  I enjoy watching my favorite sports teams, believe me, but for the most part I'd rather watch a movie or read a comic.  I guess that means I'm not as tough as the guy who's willing to destroy his coffee table when the ref throws a flag, but I'll live.

I have a dream, that someday we live in a world where geek culture and jock culture come together to create an advanced hybrid specie of man.  Some of us more advanced humans, such as myself, to name one, have already begun the assimilation.  I'm not saying we all have to be LARPers, cuz that's too much for me anyway, but let's broaden our horizons.  Stop throwing slushies at the glee club, open a comic book, put on a show tune.  You don't have to start cosplaying or buy the Lord of The Rings box set, but for God's sake, try something new.  You might just enjoy it.