Posted on Leave a comment

Why do we take fiction so seriously?

We are sometimes taken aback by people’s reaction to fiction. A fanbase reaction to a shift in their favourite series, a fan boycott of a new version they don’t approve.

Don't fill it with junk food, but it's okay every now and then.
Don’t fill it with junk food, but it’s okay every now and then.

The Greek word for entertainment is psychagogia, which is different from the word for plain “fun.” Psychagogia means leading the soul. The ancient Greeks meant “the mind” when talking about the soul. So simply put, food for the mind.

Just like people have the right to object to a restaurant when their food is trash, they have the same right to demand good entertainment, food for their mind.

When you think of it like that, it’s easy to see why people get so upset about their favourite fiction. Comic book fans (it’s not canon!), book fans (they ruined it!), movie fans (he can’t top Tobey Maquire for Spiderman!) have sometimes insane reactions to changes. I have found myself saying “It’s just a movie, chill out,” and I think we all have at some point. But then we all see something rebooted and regritted and we say, “No! Ghostbusters can’t be women! They’ve ruined it now.”

But we are wrong. And we are right as well.

Sure, over-the-top fans should sometimes get a life. And book fans can go shut their eyes and ears and go “Lalala” to avoid the movie version. The rest are simply voicing their opinion, and they have a right to an opinion about the mind-food they consume.

The kind of fiction we consume changes a bit about ourselves. Yes, you can scoff at someone if he enjoys something you don’t approve of, but only in relation to you. You can’t say, “he’s stupid for liking that action movie,” but you can say, “if all that he likes are dumb action movies then no, I can’t hang around with that person anymore.”

There’s a difference, and keep an open mind for guilty pleasures. There are women who like testosterone-filled chauvinistic action hero flicks and men who enjoy a deep emotional movie every now and then.

When I talk to people about movies, I tell them something that I thought was an unpopular opinion. I say, “I don’t enjoy those car chases, they are boring. I even skip ahead when I’m on the computer.” And to my surprise, they usually reply with, “Yes! I hate them too.”

Now, if people are really saying the truth about that, then what are the car-chase scenes for? For what audience? Hollywood throws millions and millions in dangerous and expensive car chases, but for whom? I’m not talking about the Fast and the Furious franchise, that was their whole point. But the rest, I believe, have them just because someone thinks they sell better.

They simply want you, me, us, to go and spend our money on that movie.

So yes, we can voice our opinion if it’s crap.