I watch new films only intermittently. Looking for something last night, we all agreed to try Mad Max: Fury Road. As it started, I joked, “Remember, it’s Oscar nominated….”
Uh, we managed about 15 minutes of it before all four of us gave up. (For one, it was the second time he’d tried to sit through it.) I’m sorry, “Best Picture?” Seriously?
We’ve seen a “diversity controversy” erupt around the Academy Awards as well. I haven’t followed it closely, other than I’ve noticed it argued the films Creed and/or Concussion should have been nominated for “Best Picture,” and that African-American actors have been largely ignored in other categories. I haven’t seen either film, but frankly, given that Mad Max was nominated, it seems indefensible one of those wasn’t.
Then again, I know I’m biased: I much prefer human beings challenging me about issues enveloping our human condition, and not “zombies” in caves jostling over steering wheels.
When you write, you turn your eyes now and then from your word processor and glimpse the likes of all of that happening “out there” in media-land and cringe. Novel-writing too has its own worrying issues, such as questionable quality being “big selling” and (sometimes nasty) recent debates taking place over authors, subject matter, and “authenticity.” I wrote back in September:
It seems little wonder that some authors nowadays confine themselves to producing outright fantasy. Writing about vampires, wizards, aliens, trolls, and flying broomsticks is much less literarily dangerous than endeavoring to try to create human characters in all of their awkward complexity. After all, the latter invariably have a nationality, a race, a religion (or a lack thereof), a sexual orientation, a hair color, a weight…. and quite likely certain prejudices about other human beings.
If you write, you have your own view. I know all I can do as an author is author. I can’t not be a man; I can’t do anything about being U.S.-born; and I can’t help being white (and now, err, a bit “older”). I can only do the best I can with my tales and my characters and make it plain my novels are aimed at everyone over age 18 – although undoubtedly the approach and subject will interest some readers far more than others.
However, if while turning pages a reader forgets the “identity” of this author and loses him/herself in the story and the people inhabiting the pages, I’ve accomplished my main goal. Nothing interests everyone, of course – as I’m sure many a Mad Max fan (and perhaps you are one), would also remind me. What entertains us is, in the end, a matter of personal taste.
It just so happens that mine doesn’t run to corpses driving motorcycles. I’m back now to my 1780s and 1790s letter-reading. Hope you’re having a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂