Monday, June 30, 2014

Not my world…

…I just write in it.

An idea occurred to me this morning. Would I want to live in the worlds that I write about? Let me explain.

We all know that Facebook (and other social media) have become hotbeds of socio-political discourse, debate, and downright argument. Generally, I try to avoid those subjects, as I have a wide variety of friends, from all over the spectrum, and I don’t generally like to antagonize them (except at the gaming table, but that’s a whole different issue). That being said, occasionally there comes a subject that I feel strongly enough about that I want to say something. Most recently, it is this whole “open carry” issue.

Without going into detail about my views on the 2nd Amendment in general, I can honestly say that this idea of openly carrying assault rifles and shotguns in public frightens me. It feels like a social step backwards. We’re not living in the Old West. We’re not just a bunch of fledgling colonies trying to shrug off the yoke of an oppressive regime (though I often hear arguments to the contrary). This is the 21st century. I don’t feel we need these guns in the hands of just anyone, and brazenly in the open.

But, some of the worlds I read in and write in contradict this. My favorite fictions are bloody, violent, and rife with guns and swords dealing wanton death and mayhem. I enjoy the stories and the settings in a vicarious way. But would I want to actually live there? Hell no! While I consider myself a somewhat courageous person, who would fight to defend those who are important to me, I don’t think I could stand living in the state of mind required to constantly be vigilant against that kind of threat.

I like to imagine that, if my family were killed by the mafia, I would take up arms and wage a guerrilla war against them. Or that, if my kingdom were beset by a horde of orcs, directed by an ancient and evil sorcerer, I would draw steel and stand against the tide. But, in truth, I am very happy that I don’t live in a world where either is probable (or even possible, in the case of the latter). Dying for a noble cause is still dying. And I’d rather live, thankyouverymuch.

The bottom line, for me, is that there is a line between fantasy and reality that is being crossed. Rather than prepare for an imagined world of “What if..?” I’d rather try to solve the problems that plague the real world. I’ll leave the dystopian fantasy to movies and novels.


Paul R. McNamee said...

I agree.

Nothing against responsible - honestly, seriously responsible - gun owners.

I think these right-to-carry folks who take it too far are really just role-playing. Seriously. Running around the woods in fatigues, these "militias," waiting for an economic meltdown, or government conspiracy or whatever. Is it really different from LARP?

Well, sure it is in one big way - the downside is that they don't really understand they are playing, and the guns they are carrying are real. And that is disturbing.

I'm with you - fantasy dystopia is fine but the reality is that I wouldn't last long if it really happened. I'm too dependent on modern medicine (blood pressure meds, etc.) for a start.

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree. I enjoy fictional worlds with violence and monsters and all manner of trauma and trouble. But I know the difference between fiction and reality. I want reality to be peaceful and supportive so that we can enjoy ourselves in vicarious worlds without damaging the only real one we have.