The Storytellers: Why Are Most Artists Liberal?
Hundreds of conservative non-fiction books are being published today, some of which become best-sellers. So if there was a lot of really great conservative fiction, some percentage of it would have found its way to publication.
And yet it hasn’t.
It’s almost as if you have to be a liberal to be a good artist. But that can’t be true, can it?
Well, it can. And it is. Here’s why.
I find particularly interesting the point made in which the author opines that a story needs to have (IMO: at least) two ‘human’ (which I read as ‘sympathetic’) sides in order to be a “Good” story. A one-sided story is a flawed one, and so forth. Interesting point — don’t know if it’s a useful/universal one.
Makes me (again) look askance at Hidden Things and wonder if I’m missing something there — but that might be me projecting one of my own rules — realistically, no sane person thinks of themselves as The Villain.. Then again, I think about some stories (the actually good Star Wars stories, for example) that focus on the hero’s quest and the inequivocably Rilly Rilly Bad Guy… and those stories don’t have two sympathetic sides, and I think Hmmm.
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Well, for one thing, those are myths, fairy tales, not nuanced, balanced evaluations of the human condition and the personalized face of the enemy in a conflict (which is where the prequel trilogy failed in trying to become just that). Are those “good” stories? Well, define (if you don’t mind rehashing endless arguments) what “good” means. They are certainly entertaining and useful.
Beyond that, I’ll quibble with the blog writer just a scosh. The fact is that, all things considered, we are a far more liberal society than any in history. Consider the liberal/humanistic values (as identified by the author) child labor, gender equality, racial equality, environmentalism, gay rights, religious freedom, etc. We’re nowhere close to perfection in any of those areas — but we’re a lot further than the vast majority of civilizations and societies in recorded history. We’re a lot further than we (the US) were a mere half-century ago.
That said, then, one would expect the literature that *we* consider to be *good* the lit that includes and proclaims those values (and condemn as bad, unpopular, uncommercial, or evil the lit that does not).
It’s akin asking why the Classical eras produced such marvelous music — because the only music that’s survived to this day and is played is the stuff that was really good (vs. Sturgeon’s 90% that was crap), and even there it’s been a gauntlet of changing tastes over time.
Re the author’s comments on Arthur C Clarke, etc., also consider that SF, as it grew up as a niche genre in the pulps, was perforce action- and technology-oriented. It was the *pulps*, fergoshsakes.
I also question the idea that only “liberal” individuals can have “empathy” for more than one side of a comflict. I suspect the “liberal”/”conservative” labeling here breaks down a bit.
Um…I think the writer is here confusing “ultra-conservatives” with “conservatives.” Also, where the hell is he looking for fiction? Because I’m seeing a lot of conservative fiction, and a lot of stories angled toward a conservative audience. I agree, there isn’t all that much ultra-conservative fiction that makes the bestseller lists…but a lot of it does. Christian fiction is gaining a lot more shelf space than it used to, that’s for sure. But WTF!?! Only liberals make art? Sheeeeeesh. What is Animal Farm, if not the fears of a conservative turned into fiction? “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
But to address your actual point…I disagree. Most people don’t think of themselves as villains, true, but some people do: they’re justified. “That’s the way the world works, kid.”
Ahh, but see… they might agree that they’re doing something wrong, but they justify it: “That’s they way the world works.”
“Yeah, I steal stuff, but what’m I gonna do? That’s the way the world works.”
“Sorry for shootin’ yah, but it was was either you or me.”
“I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”
The underlying belief there is that if YOU were in the same boat as the speaker, you’d do the same thing.
Therefore, they aren’t ‘evil.’
Hannibal Lector? Evil Behavior. Doesn’t make any excuses for his behavior. Does it anyway. Therefore, accepts that he’s evil.
By the “objective” definitions of modern society, that = crazy. Non-crazy people might acknowledge behavior as bad, but have a reason for why they’re doing it, because in their eyes, they are not ‘evil.’
Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham is a *fun* character, but he’s simply not in any way realistic. Contrast with his Snape, who does (apparently) bad things for (ostensibly) good reasons. Must more human.
Give me a Sheriff who does exactly the same stuff as Rickman’s version, but who has some kind of underlying motivation that *I* can identify with, and you have a really really interesting, believable, “deep” character.
Wow. Lookit that tangent.
Hey, you didn’t say evil the first time around — just The Villain. You can see yourself as being a villain without seeing yourself as evil, you know. I first understood this as a parent of a two-year-old, as in, “Yes, I am a horrible, terrible person for telling you no. No! Hahahahaha!” Not that people don’t often take it to horrifying extremes. I really disagree that everyone that does something wrong really thinks of themselves as a good person deep down. Heck, some of the people I know who are really good people deep down don’t think of themselves that way…inside, they sometimes think of themselves as terrible, awful people, screwups who can’t help themselves.
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