I generally don’t write with an eye towards beating the reader over the head with some greater political, religious, or social meaning. I keep hearing that the purpose of art is to “make people think.” How pretentious is that, really? Sure, I have opinions and beliefs, but I am not going to sully my own creations by making sure they’re laced with layers of socio-political statement just because I have an opinion. I am not going to whore out my visions for some political movement, or even because I feel particularly preachy. If I’m going to whore them out, it will be for money. Call me old fashioned that way.
No, if people want to be sermonized to by their entertainment they need look no further than Hollywood. Take “Avatar”. The art and creativity that went into that movie was absolutely astounding, and for that alone “Avatar” is destined to be a classic. For all the money they spent on eye-candy, though, you would think they would have shelled out a hundred dollars for an original script. Hell, an original storyline would’ve been nice. Instead, in their drive to shove their ham-fisted political messages down the throats of viewers the producers of Avatar went with rehashing “Dances With Wolves” using hackneyed charicatures of over-used Hollywood villains. What could have been a truly great movie on all levels is now only great for its special effects.
I don’t get that. OK, sure, lots of classics are retellings of older stories; Shakespeare practically made a career of it. That said, if you’re going to create something that otherwise rewrites the rules, why would you decide to be completely unoriginal when it comes to the storyline and characters? If you strip away the special effects, “Pi” was a far better movie than “Avatar”.
So there’s my tirade on storytelling and conveying messages. If your goal is to push a political view, at least try to be original with it. As for me, whatever messages I push I try to push quietly. I’m not Heinlein or Barker, after all!