Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"This isn't reality. This is fantasy."

I am getting incressingly annoyed with the whole "this is reality" trope that shows up in fiction. It pulls me out of the story, degrades it, and degrades the characters who usually make points that are actually helpful in context if not in general. So allow me a moment to shit all over it.

I could make the argument that, objectively, you really can't tell one one way or another what is real or what is not, but that is more or less bullshit. You CAN tell. Maybe not 100%, but reality is simply best recognized as consistency. Facts add up. Things fit together. If you try and change facts, try to wedge it in to a person's idea of reality, it stands out like a sore thumb in relation to the facts around it. The only reasons we don't know things is we don't have all the pieces yet, but the ones that do more or less fit. Not so in a dream or a fantasy where implications and imperfections cause "plot holes". The more things don't fit the more potholes there will be. This is why we need Willing Suspension Of Disbelief.

However, even IF we recognize the unreality of something doesn't mean that fiction is useless or without merit. A lot of it is researched in it's own way, partly based on things that are real, or what if situations where various elements are toyed with in as realistic a manner possible given the knowledge of the author. Reality's basic forms and ideas trickle downward into fictional works, either in recognized forms as equivalents to day-to-day life, or as exotic forms and ideas we may not recognize but are in fact more or less the same as real life. Granted, one should be able to recognize the difference between reality and fantasy, but one should also recognize that sometimes, fantasy IS more then mindless entertainment.

At the very least it would teach me how not to be an idiot in relationships by avoiding the what should be obvious by now pitfalls sitcom characters find themselves in again and again.

(Also I realized half way through this rant, that this could apply to religion too, but I already beat that horse enough. Also also "real"ized. I think my concept of reality sort of fits in with that word.)

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