So continuing from part one…
You all know the last thing I would be telling anyone to do is not question their entertainment. So, when I mentioned being receptive, that’s not what I mean.
Let’s look at the hard facts.
The love of money is the root of all evil…in the movie industry. Every time you see a bad movie, just remember, they made it to make money.
I really hope there are some screenwriters left who are in it for the good of mankind. But I wonder if there are any studios left of that sort.
Even assuming there are, it can’t be denied most of them just want to compete with blockbuster successes, and movies are only grossing more and more millions or even billions of dollars as time and inflation take effect.
That being said, it’s not a stretch to think that a lot of bad messages in entertainment are being shoved down our throats because they sell. Because dumb or immoral people will care a lot less about content. Making it easier to make movies and shows that are successes for no apparent reason, therefore making more money. So the cycle goes.
It’s not really paranoid to think this, it’s getting all too blatant.
And often the whole diversity and culture representation thing is thrown in just to get cheap points from certain demographics. (And I don’t mean the ethnicity themselves, but movie watcher demographics.)
Like Disney is criticized for having predominantly white protagonists.
The people who make those criticisms are ignoring the fact that Disney started off as a vehicle for retelling and bringing to life all the old fairy tales and stories people already loved. Which were, like it or not, mostly from European cultures. Because that’s what America started as, a land with European settlers. Complain all you like about the poor Native American representation in Peter Pan. But it is based off a book that literally has Indians in it just because kids liked imagining them. It’s not supposed to be accurate. (Also Walt Disney started making films at a time when certain ethnicity weren’t in movie entertainment all that much, so it’s not like he had much talent of that sort to choose from.)
This is one example of nitpicking that is harmful. What child really cares all that much about their culture being accurately represented?
I mean, let’s explore that: I am of mostly European descent. Should I get mad that my people are represented as singing with birds, living in the woods with no apparent contact with the outside world, and falling for the tricks of wicked witches every single time? (Come to think of it, two out of three of those sounds a lot like homeschooling.)
It’s not like old Disney films really make Europeans look smart, or even brave. A lot of them make us look silly for comic relief.
It would be like taking the court scene in Alice in Wonderland as meant to seriously represent the Law in the real world. No one would do that.
Or the tea party as meant to be actual tea etiquette.
Where’s the outrage here?
Another good reason black or Hispanic characters don’t appear in these movies is because they do not appear in the stories. The reason is, these stories, like Peter Pan or Alice’s, were written by Englishmen for English children. Children who would relate to English culture.
It’s not the story’s fault that its been brought to America with its melting pot of ethnicity.
And as far as more recent films go, the same rule applies to Tangled (German) and Frozen (Danish/Norwegian.) To realistically put black characters in there would be to make them servants. Who wants that message?
Okay, okay, so I’m over-defending Disney. But I could say the same about other franchises too. The poor writers who want to stick to the comic book, or historical, accuracy have a hard time because history is what it is; and comics were, again, written to promote American ideals.
(It would be a whole other discussion to wonder if that’s why people are coming down on them so much.)
To sum all that up, including a black or Latino character is not a virtue and omitting them is not a sin, unless it is ignoring a historical reality.
Before I end this, let’s talk about plots.
Even if you make it through the larbrithn of political correctness and good editing, people will be brutal to your plot.
There are three types of people where plot is concerned.
- Those who miss the point of it entirely.
- Those who hate the point completely.
- Those who try to make the point fit whatever their worldview is and ignore the goal of the story.
Most of us are one of these three at any given time. Even I fall into the third category a lot.
Missing the point can just be a fluke, people can just not comprehend the artistic style.
Often though it’s because they weren’t looking for a point at all. And I question if some popular franchise are even trying that hard to make one anymore.
But the second category is probably the most rare, but it’s also important.
When folks hate what you are doing, you are either right, or you are very wrong. There’s not really a middle ground.
The trouble is, when we are picking apart a plot because it wasn’t well paced, or it wasn’t progressive enough, or it was too cliche, we are missing the real point of storytelling.
Which is to show us stuff we can’t normally see.
Yes, an old tale retold is monotonous after awhile. But it is still important.
There are only so many good messages out there. That’s why in the effort to be new and different, books and movies have gone off into the dark, gritty, and uncertain territory.
Because picking a moral right or a moral wrong leaves you with only a few options.
The purpose of new stories is to reiterate the truth in a different way that will make sense to different people.
Truth however, doesn’t change.
Lies change, that is, they morph over time to disguise themselves so that we will keep being taken in.
Truth doesn’t need to do that. It stands on its own.
That’s why a movie like Frozen will break the glass ceiling, even though it falls into a lot of what we would call cliches. It has truth.
And it’s why a movie like Age of Ultron will never be that kind of success, though it had good actors, amazing special effects, and a new-ish plot. There’s no truth in it.
As much as people will argue now that truth is irrelevant to movies; the statistics will speak for themselves. The human mind is attracted to truth, to absolutes, to real meaning.
That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.