Quicksand Entertainment

These days, we drown in media. Pick any existing form of mainstream communication and entertainment, and you’ll find a saturated market, full of infinite crap ready to be thrown at you.

We are constantly stormed by product of bad quality and malicious intent. Turn on your TV, and wait for something that is relatively interesting, something which picks your genuine attention and not your demand of gossip (that is, no news, no reality TV, etc.). Personally, if I did this, I’d wait for hours, at least until after dinner, to have a chance at finding a good show. And, who’d have guessed, it would generally be old movies.

It’s only this kind of thing for HOURS!

Try radio and go through hours of useless talking, interrupted by a couple minutes of the same shitty five songs big labels want you to listen. Videogames? Most of the “tripul A” industry costantly releases the same game with different skins. And let’s not touch books, or this rant will be too long; go to a bookstore and see for yourself.

I am aware and sure that these industries are either tanking or stagnating, one more than the other. In truth, what I really want to talk about is the fact that a part of the public has been boiling inside that old pot for so much time that is incredibly hard to pull it out of the hot water. Be it the middle-aged lady watching soap-operas all day, or the comic book nerds that just can’t stop simping for Marvel and DC, these guys will continue drowning in the quicksand that is the current entertainment industry.

“Marvel can’t swallow you up if you just stop caring!”

Since I’m more oriented towards books, I ask myself how much new authors in the indie scene should try to make themselves known to such audience, instead of solidifying their readership as an underground, but intellectually active, movement. I don’t mean we should gatekeep towards normies (we need normies to save media, I believe), also because a lot of people trapped in Quicksand Entertainment aren’t normies at all. My point is this: I’m noticing that many people just want to stay inside the mainstream. I don’t know why, but so it is.

These people will never care about all the cool stuff they’d find if they started looking elsewhere and, although it’s true that slow and steady wins the race, you can do only as much to convince them. In the end, it’s only a matter of personal decision. And many have chosen that only Big Brand X is allowed in their lives.

Should creators stop their effort, then? Never. First, because I want more cool books. Second, the movement will grow, and that’s a fact. Corpos can try to stop it however they want, some things can’t just die. What must be acknowledged is that, big as it can become, the NewPub/PulpRev/Superversive scene is going to be an underground phenomenon. The mainstream of the future may follow their steps, but these scenes are destined to be an alternative and a rebellion. A true rebellion, hence spread only up to a certain point.

Be a rebel! Read cool books! #resist

This brings me to face another crucial aspect. A writer who wants to live off his own stories should keep striving for that, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’re doing this as a contribution for a better future. Western culture will eventually recover from its malady, and it will happen thanks to our contribution. Both writers and readers, because as the first must create for the future, the second must preserve those creations and bring them into the future.

And of course, this is true for all art.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned!

Relatable Characters Are a False Myth

It is a common stance among the highest spheres of the entertainment industry, especially among star-writers of any kind, that your characters must be relatable to the public. Relatable, not likeable, mind you.

I am sure most of you know what I am talking about, but this is a place for anyone, so I am going to explain what that means: I am referring to an aesthetic theory (because it is, although a bad one) consisting in stressing one or more flaws in a character, according to the idea that fictional people must be human and so relatable to those reading, watching or playing your product.

You are free to think that the intent is positive (I do not), but anyone with common sense can see how bad the outcome has been. When not striving to destroy the industry they were working in, corporate writers sought to gain attention by saying “Look, my hero is imperfect! Just like you!” and ended up telling stories of vicious people whom nobody really likes.

When they are not just villains in a hero’s clothing, Relatable Characters™  are like participants to a reality show, ready to be mocked and put down for their own shortcomings, their stories being humiliation rituals designed to provide vulgar satisfaction while saying “You are as bad as them”.

Do you think this makes up a bond between character and person? Do you really believe I can relate with this? The answer is no, of course, if you’re not a fake intellectual feeling a compelling need to show the world his ignorance.

It is a fact that nobody likes bad people. As human beings, we are, of course, fallen, but we tend to be attracted by the good in others; a good of different kinds and degrees, but good nonetheless. We despise disagreeable people, and get angry at our loved ones when they do something we do not deem positive.

Both numbers and common experience make manifest that nobody relates with Relatable Characters: kids and adults alike have run away from comics, leaving just those who have a symbiotic relationship with the medium, for example. And I believe that this is one reason behind the abandonment of high culture, since it seems almost impossible to find a fine artist or poet or composer with good artistic intent.

Do not get me wrong: it is good if your characters make mistakes, or if they are flawed. You got it wrong when flaws become real vices. One could say “We all have our vices and bond with characters that share them”, but these are just malicious words. The reality is that we do not like the sins of others, we just love ours. We hate others’ vices when they are manifest and uncontrolled, as much as we love to underline how much better we are at hiding ours.

If you want people to relate to your characters, let them be positive. Let them have likeable personalities, a positive attitude, and a capacity for good. Maybe at the start losers and neckbeards will dunk on them, but you will witness the love they will get from normal, good people, the ones that, admit it, will give you more than the others.

P.S.: That picture was just too good to be left unused. My intention was not to ascribe Iron Man to this category, I do not know the character well enough.