I was hoping you could talk a little bit more about your views on politics in entertainment. You seem to be of the mindset that a writer or entertainer either has to choose to write a good story or write a political piece. Why can’t they be one in the same? Why can’t someone accomplish both goals at the same time?
I suppose it isn’t impossible, however from an anecdotal standpoint, I’ve never seen it and IMHO it’s a fool’s errand to even try. There’s an age-old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
In most cases, in order to produce an ideologically-driven narrative, you have to reduce other aspects in favor of that narrative. Now, one could argue that you could include both in a story, but that would make for a particularly long and drawn out story. In this day and age with attention spans being what they are, this is something that is typically discouraged if you want your writing to draw a crowd.
Think of it like a comedian. People pay to see them or they’re paid by the location to get on stage. People want to be entertained when they’re on their own time trying to escape the horrors of reality. That comedian only has between 20-60 minutes to entertain the crowd. At what point does his act suffer when he stops telling jokes and goes on a political diatribe? It’s one thing to tell jokes with a political slant, it’s another thing to use your platform solely to push your political view.
In writing, I believe this is the difference between using political/social issues to push a story forward and using a story to push a political narrative. The latter is simply ill-advised. You do a much better job making your point when you’ve successfully entertained the audience while addressing the issues you wanted to.
When you make your agenda the forefront of your story, you take the risk of reducing the story elements to the point where they’re either non-existent, unbelievable, or unrelatable and thus deviate almost completely away from what is traditionally considered entertaining.
Think about it, people don’t go for fantasy and sci-fi stories for political messages. They want to immerse themselves in different worlds, be introduced to new possibilities and ‘alien’ ideas that they never imagined before. Simply put, they want to be entertained. It is a lot easier to deliver your political message when you’re not entertaining people.
This is why I say that it is very difficult, if not near impossible to shape a political narrative into a good story. The focus should be writing a good story and using that political narrative to drive it forward, not the other way around.
However, as I’ve said before, this is simply my opinion based on my own experiences, not only in the writing world but in the entertainment world in general. Take it with a grain of salt.
Anyway, thanks for the question. Hope this helps you understand a little better. Readers- what do you think? Is it possible to do it the other way around or should escapism be preserved? Let me know in the comments!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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Catch you on the flip side!