Why I Choose Escapism Over Realism: In Defense of Fairy Tales
When it comes to fiction, I have a soft spot for the escapism in it, or if attempting to illustrate an important point when it comes to humanity or global problems, then a mix of magical realism rather than solely realism. I understand that, when it comes to non-fiction, you don’t have the luxury of sprinkling unicorns, giant bug creatures, or magical fairies in it without losing all credibility. But, I’m discussing works of fiction that reveal extremely bleak truths about reality without much hope for anything else.
A lot of people, especially in higher levels of academia, believe that genres such as science fiction and fantasy are cute but, ultimately, “pedestrian”, a sign of the “common mind” with a weakness for fairy tales that supposedly imitates the thoughts of a child.
Let me write a very subjective blogpost, because where else do great minds go if not the recesses of the internet to write the next great tome of philosophy? (I’m kidding. You go to Google for philosophy, obviously, not blogs).
Without escapism, all we have is reality.
Yes, fairy tales get ripped out of our adult lives at very young ages. We realize Santa isn’t real. The tooth fairy won’t give you any more cash. You don’t always get the girl/guy running away at the stroke of midnight.
But, when you’re backed into a corner, which do you find more comforting to cheer you up? Fairy tales? Or do you reach for a book that has a message, ultimately, that tells you that life is meaningless?
I’m writing this in defense of those who write without a message to “enlighten your feeble minds” by telling you about the “ultimate hopelessness of our lives”. I’m writing this for my fellow fantasy/sci-fi/other “silly novel” writers who write simply because they wish to tell a good story.
Not to bring you onto some higher plane of existence.
Not to preach at you.
Not to make you question your feeble mortality.
I’m writing this in defense of people who bring magic into a world that needs, ultimately, a lot of saving. I’m writing this for the comic book creators who write about superheroes so that little boys and girls grow up believing they can change the world. I’m writing this for the knights (all genders) who want to swoop in and save the day. I’m writing this for the romantics who don’t want to be lonely anymore, the people who seek hope in a bleak world.
I’m writing this in defense of fairy tales.
Because, sometimes, you need a happily ever after to remind you that happiness still exists in the world, and that goodness has an impact on an imperfect world.
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