Saturday, December 17, 2011

Immortality and Poor Writing

You remember Aesop's fable concerning the fox and the grapes? Hmm?

Sour grapes, that's what that looks like to me. What does this have to do with poor writing? Well, quite a few times I've read a story or comic, some article of fiction, and I find a character who has the property of immortality but he has been struck by ennui. His thoughts are written to follow something along the lines of 'I've seen it all, I've done it all. What else is there? All the people I've ever known have grown old and died before me. Fie upon this everlasting existence and woe is me for who could consider this living when there is no possibility of dying?'. To which I must retort:

In this day and age, I find the idea that anyone can legitimately believe themselves to have 'seen it all and done it all' offensively absurd. Some wags like to think themselves clever by saying vaguely Zen-like adages such as "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I refer them to my above rebuttal.

The internet. I believe the technical term for it is "fucking awesome". Nothing that has come before can compete with how far and fast this thing can spread ideas and information.

"Nothing like it"? No, you can't say that. Telephones, telegrams, a sophisticated postal system, these things were certainly like it, and just as revolutionary in their days. But these things were obstructed by borders and, more importantly, by distance.

This thing, the internet... I don't even know how to impress upon you how much more it is than anything people had 50 years ago. In the span of one day, I will (and you can, too) bump virtual elbows with thousands of people, collectively chuckling at memes and commenting on YouTube clips, funny images, etc. How many people do you personally interact with in a day? How many of those do you engage in conversation? Let's even take internet out of the equation. Before internet, how many people did a person interact with in a day? We are social animals, but even on a weekend at a party with friends, I'm confident enough to place that number well under 3-digits.
Ok, enough of that. Any more and this post will be fully derailed from the original intended topic. haha.

I believe I make my point clear. There are people in every age who look at the wonders man has wrought and think to themselves, "Well. That's it. There's nothing else to see and nowhere else to go." Immortality is wasted on these people. But then, this character probably didn't choose to have the ability. He usually doesn't when the writer's intention is to make him 'a bored guy'. He'll spend his time wishing he could be a normal guy. O TEH IRONY! Be careful what you wish for ooga booga booga!

Fuck that. If I was immortal I'd do it all. Take a look at this list, damn you. I'd master it all! War and Peace? I'd read that shit. In its original language.

In a nutshell, I believe what we have here isn't a case of being 'cursed with awesomeness', it's a case of casting pearls before swine.