Pictured: The Bluniverse with a splash of red.
The discussion of diversity in creative works is an important and evolving one. I have seen many strides taken in my 40-some odd years towards inclusivity. I have made many of those strides in my life and am always striving to be better.
I’m a white guy, so I exist in a position of privilege. Statistically, I have better odds of surviving an interaction with police than others might. My chances of landing a job are higher, and I would likely get paid more than another doing the same job. It is unlikely that someone would drag me behind an automobile for my choice in partners, or beat me to death because I represent a gender different from expectations. I understand this.
No human deserves violence for their existence alone. As yet, we have no evidence that humans choose existence. Rather, life thrusts it upon them at a very early age (ha!) and they have no option but to accept it. They don‘t deserve injury for this anymore than I deserve a crown for my pallor and genital configuration.
Diversity is not harmful to creative works. The more voices there are, the more variety there is, the less boring the world becomes. If everything in the universe was blue, for example, it would be a bland existence. But add a splash of red? Suddenly things get interesting. In our hypothetical bluniverse that spot of red stands out and screams, “I am here!”
A spot of red does not diminish the blueness. It draws away some attention, but blue is no less blue. In fact, it inspires a few blue bits to venture out and try being purple. Another blue spot tries being yellow. Soon we have a whole spectrum. It is a lot of hard work, but what a wondrous place our universe becomes!
The argument seems to be that if content was being created that was “good” then things would be different. However, great content is being made, and often with little to no support. When support is available (Jordan Peele’s latest efforts come to mind) incredible things happen. We get excellent stories, brilliant images, and amazing music. The whole of creation works harder to shine.
And that is where the problem rests. It isn’t a fear of color or creed, of gender or orientation, but of work. Lackluster only shines when nothing else is brighter. In a diverse field, only the great shines through. That is a good thing, because it means that we must work harder, practice our craft, and make things that people love if we want them seen.
So let us, instead of harping at diversity, get better at what we are doing. Write every day. Paint every day. Study, photograph, film, sculpt every single day. Be better. Help the bluniverse grow into a vast spectrum worthy of your shine.
Weekly Topic Contest Winner: Marc Alexander
My friend Marc posted this as a topic idea: “I can pass messages thru dreams to those who know to contact me, but I get my memory wiped regularly so I don’t remember what messages I transmit.”
Now this sounds like a fun story, so I won’t write it for him. I will touch on the rabbit hole it drew me down: Laser-guided amnesia.
The mind wipe or memory wipe is well covered on tvtropes.com so you can read about it in more depth there. To familiarize you with the concept, Jason Bourne and The Manchurian Candidate are both examples. A person has their memory removed yet keep their abilities. This may seem like movie magic, but it is how amnesia works to some extent. You lose your sense of person, but keep your muscle memory. It is a common plot device that can make for good storytelling.
Most often we see the subject of the wipe perform some immoral act that no “good” person would or could. Jason Bourne is a cold-blooded killing machine. The Chinese military conditioned Raymond Shaw to assassinate various political rivals of his handlers. They usually escape their circumstances and everything works out: the “good guys” win.
In Marc‘s scenario above, the means of wiping would have to be near instantaneous. They could use an implanted chip, a la Total Recall. If the memory erasure wasn‘t instant, they would remember the messages and the premise would fail.
We must also consider the most important question: Why? Why are they transmitting messages? This is an important plot point. When writing this story, the author would need to have that question answered to set it up correctly. The message transmission is important enough to need a memory wipe afterwards. This is doubtless an expensive thing, be it lasers or a memory chip. This could all make for a superb story. All that remains is for someone to write it.
So, to this week‘s winner, I say, “Sit down and write this story I would love to read!”
[ Marc is a writer of compelling and thoughtful comic reviews and recently posted his 150th review over at Bam! Smack! Pow! Check it out here: bamsmackpow.com/2019/02/18/criminal-no-2-review-comics-and-crime/ ]