I’ve noticed this for a while and have mentioned it before to friends and family as a grievance of mine, but storytelling isn’t fun anymore. People don’t go out to write stories for fun and escapism, but so much of storytelling is now about pushing a certain idea or finger-wagging at someone. It’s about taking power or controlling other people (especially in the case of things like #CockyGate).
Just this morning I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw this:
I thought it was funny for the absurdity of it. I like weird, unpredictable things, but as you read through the comments, the two line story isn’t innocent or just for fun. The person who put it up there did so with malice in her mind, angry at men. “Any guy who says you’re not like all the other girls is sexist. It pits women against each other. It enforces stereotypes because you didn’t expect her to be a mechanic,” were the general responses as to why this line deserved claps.
Because anyone saying you’re not like other people is now apparently offensive and the appropriate response is to hurt them. I’m sick of this game. I want to enjoy stories, enjoy characters, and enjoy adventure and triumph without all of this shaming for what people say or how they act.
You can’t tell a story about a knight saving a damsel in distress because it’s sexist, but you can tell a story about a woman saving a man because it’s progressive. You can clap when the girl dragon eats the “hetero” as one commenter on twitter said, but if you said the dragon ate the homo, you’re a bigot and should be picketed.
The movies that do well with the critics aren’t movies that are actually good stories, but they hit all the right political talking points — and by “right talking points,” I mean anything and everything considered leftist or progressive. A good story is more likely to bomb with the critics if it stars a white, straight male, but if it stars a black, transgender, womxn, the critics will scream praise from the rooftops and call disappointed movie waters bigotted rightwingers.
I want more stories that are just about telling a good story. I want creative people to stop being obsessed with checking the right political boxes. How many critique groups have you been in where someone complained there were too many “white” people? Then the same person who complains that you’ve written nonwhite people in a way they don’t like for whatever reason. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I want more feel-good stories. I want more stories without an agenda. I want more stories that are about watching someone struggle and succeed, the underdog beats the king, a group of friends grow closer. I want that warm fuzzy feeling, surprises, and fun. I don’t strictly read any genre because I don’t like the predictability, but I appreciate every author who writes a story for the sake of entertainment.
Nowadays, it feels like the people who write or create without an agenda are picked on for not doing something ‘good’ enough or ‘righteous’ enough… but, man, I think this major injection of political and social opinions in every bit of work is one of the reasons we are so divided nowadays. We have nothing to come together on. Heck, people’ve been unable to come together for Football for the last few years because even it’s been made political. Sometimes people want a break from the depressing, the fist-shaking, the activism and I feel like there are people out there who either don’t have an identity outside of their activism and/or they feel bad if they aren’t completely obsessed, and in some cases, completely miserable.
I guess the point of this blog post is to plea to creators. I won’t tell anyone what to write, but I plea with creators to have fun. Become a community of readers and writers who love the craft, who love storytelling, who love characters, and who love creating adventures, growth, exploration, families — in art. Love the angst. Love the action. Love the fun.
I miss stories that are just about the people.