Topic of the Day; Straight from the Headlines
A proposal. Imagine, for a moment, that I have a memetic (realistic) television or comic book series in production. Let’s say some of the major characters are high school students. For a major arc of the series, I have in mind homophobic bullying arc, a teen pregnancy, a school shooting, etc. as possibilities. Is it appropriate for me to explore any of these topics because they are, perhaps, sensitive for some viewers/ readers? I don’t think so.
I don’t think it would be inappropriate for issues of the day, often very hard and disturbing, to be explored by artists. We can’t, and we shouldn’t, shy away from hard subject matter. Even if the artist him or herself struggles.
But is there a point where concern should be expressed? Yes. Absolutely. The artist has a responsibility to do the best work possible.
Back to my school shooting scenario in my imaginary series. What would I do to not fuck it up? I wouldn’t let it be a one and done issue. The consequences of that event would haunt the school and my characters long after the event. I wouldn’t let it be forgotten.
The same goes with bullying. I’m thankful that I never experienced bullying to the degree that a lot of other kids, not only LGBT, have gone through. I was lucky. But exploring what such viciousness does to students is, I think, something that should be done.
Difficult subjects should be approached with care, but they should never be avoided. To avoid that which makes us squeamish, sick, angry, frightened, or disgusted limits us. These subjects need to be confronted and surpassed. Otherwise there will be no growth, only stasis.
PostPost: I know I probably could have written about actual shows and how they handle these topics, but I really wanted to look at it from a “what would I do” approach.
Next time, there is a rant a coming. And look to a post where I try to figure out the levels of genre.