A critique of practical fiction

This was just a bunch of stream-of-consciousness tweets that got too long and bloggy. It's about how being normal is totally kewl and fiction needs to stop being so much about extraordinary people who break all the rules because if we all break all the rules things will kinda suck tbh and you're not even especially kewl for breaking the rules so yeah, don't do it leave all the rule-breaking to me.

  • I think there's some nobility in mediocrity.

    Like being willing to show up to work every day even though you won't change the world.
  • I think just maintaining things, keeping the world going, NOT MAKING THINGS WORSE gets far too little praise.
  • Hank Hill, for example, is the kind of hero the world needs. Someone who's decent, nice, and takes joy from even their modest slice.
  • People know this on some subconscious level, I think. That spirit is the reason King of the Hill was so comfy and widely loved.
  • I think fiction is extremely important for that reason. It's like a swatch book of life-- "You can be like this, or that, or that..."
  • Story telling is among the oldest of human pastimes, it's probably innate, evolved around the same time as music.
  • Some psychs I've read of and talked to think music and fiction are the same thing-- a way to model the ideal human life.
  • Venture Bros. is another show that celebrates mediocrity (explicitly, failure). But IMO it's wrong to assume that mediocrity means failure.
  • VB has a very important message, that failure isn't the end of ur life. But... It's just that. NOT the end.
  • Even if your first enterprise failed, there are still things you can do, HAVE to do, and most importantly, WANT to do.
  • And the characters, by and large, don't stew in resentment. They move on. Realize the value of other things. Really nice show.
  • Adult Swim, excepting for the moment Rick and motherfucking Morty, has some of the most psychologically healthy cultural fare anywhere.
  • 1: By dabbling in extremes and making programming decisions based on someone's preference rather than some idiot exec's marketing bullshit
  • 2: they've closely modeled humanity's natural storytelling proclivity: fiction as an exploration of the unknown.
  • I really believe all the following: If something's enjoyable, it has a purpose (except existence itself, which we do just for the fun of it)
  • Storytelling's purposes are manifold, but among them is presenting problems to the collective unconscious biocomputer to gradually solve.
  • This includes everything from simple puzzling things "how do we divide labor" to deep philosophical existential issues.
  • And some of those things take place over vast stretches of time. A culture's myths are a way of preserving that work between generations.
  • I think if you build your fiction based only on what's going to be the most popular, you disrupt this process.
  • ALSO, if you base fiction on promoting an ideology. It's a kind of lying-- truthful fiction always poses a question.
  • And it might include examples of possible answers, but it can't give the answer outright. That's not how we're wired to consume stories. *More Bad fiction thinks it knows the answers-- and it uses it to try and manipulate you. To some degree, we detect this IMO.
  • It's irritating. We blame it on characters not being "realistic" or something, but I think it's more like, it doesn't ask the question.
  • It doesn't engage you with potentiality. It doesn't take you -in relative safety- into the unknown. It just vomits answers at you.
  • It's reluctant to ask the question because it doesn't like some of the possible answers. They conflict with the creator's goals.
  • Anyway, point of this thread: We need more fiction that explores what it means to be a normal, decent person.
  • Maybe you don't need to be important to have value. Being like everyone else might be OK. There might even be perks that rebels don't get.
  • Aside: Marxists always seethe at the idea of people promoting "conformity". "Oh, you want me to be a good lil worker for the BRGWZ!"
  • But think about this, aren't you, after your revolution, going to NEED a lot of people to willingly accept conformity to run your communes?
  • Even if you think I'm promoting the idea for my own political ends, you can't blanket condemn the idea of predictability and convention.
  • You're going to need that shit in order to not dissolve your society into fucking chaos. Of the "nothing gets done" type at BEST.
  • Anyway, sorry, this was a completely unplanned thread. Shoulda posted it on my actual blog (that nobody reads but I'm cool w/ that)