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Why Do We Fiction, Indeed? -- 30/01/13



This is a response to the blog post Eric (RevDrFunk) made a while ago, which I've only just got round to writing (sorry about that.) The delay was mainly because I was aware the magnitude of the task and its importance to me and tbqh, I wasn't about that life.

But as with most tasks of the verbular form, it takes a spark to start the metaphorical flame. And that spark, today -- actually yesterday -- was me crying when I found out the planned release date of Kung Fu Panda 3. You're probably wanting to know when that is, and why I hold such ardent passion for some goofy kids' movie franchise. The first answer is March 18, 2016, and pretty much speaks for itself. Literal ages away. The second answer - besides the very simple initial one of "I'm a fucking pansy, okay?" - I hope can serve to tie in to Eric's very pertinent question asked all those weeks ago. After all, it is rather illogical spending time with works of fantasy that have little bearing on the real world, when, as my brother put it, "You could read a really good non fiction book and actually learn stuff."

The overall gist to my love of Kung Fu Panda 2 is that it is so much more than it has any right to be. It reminds me of reading Louis Sachar's "There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" way back in the summer. These are supposed to be silly, insubstantial little kids' stories that get them into reading, or in the case of KFP2, keep them busy for an hour and a half. Right? That's what you'd assume. Yet both of these are two of the most compelling stories I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Reading TABITGB, a book whose target audience probably still have milk teeth, made me cry. And not just a tear or two in the corner of my eyes; hot, anguished sobs that make me sniffle a little bit right now just thinking about them. It's telling of the power a good story has over us, and it was that book that made me realise childrens' storytellers might be the most masterful of them all. So what exactly in KFP2 makes it so supposedly amazing?

Simply: it is beautiful.

And I don't mean purely in the aesthetic sense, although they did absolutely knock it out of the park in that aspect. -- the scenery, the colour schemes, the characters; seeing the main villain Shen in action is positively breathtaking at times. Po's experience of overcoming his obstacles by finding inner peace is the definition of the word, and demonstrates one of the main appeals of fiction. It shows us things we otherwise could not see, teaches us lessons that we otherwise could not learn because oftentimes real life just does not work out that way, even if it should. The best characters stay with us long after we finish their stories, and we learn from their faults and mistakes as if they were our own. We sympathise with their plights as if they were our loved ones'. We feel when they feel, and I think, in a way, our fiction is what reminds us how to be human.

Uhh. Boy, where did that post go? Thank you for reading my extremely tangential ramblings - and sorry for putting you though that. I'd be interested in reading what you guys think about the phenomenon that is fiction. Feel free to comment, or even make a blog post. That'd be froot. Also thanks Eric.

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Yeah, you definitely know when you've got a really good children's story when you can come back however may years later (or better, discover it for the first time many years later) and still take something away from it. I lot of really good kids stories have that...like Up, so I hear (I've never actually seen it, and I haven't seen KFP2 either, though I did see the first one).

This is why I get miffed when people cover something like Pokemon with "OMG NOSTALGIA" sauce or whatever. Pokemon is good because it subtly influences our imaginations. We give personalities and quirks to our Pokemon, even though they're just pixels... Back in the Red/Blue days with filled in the technical gaps between the GameBoy and something like the anime with our minds. I think that liking kid's entertainment for the sake of nostalgia is foolish. Going back and examining them with a fresh perspective, and realizing the value in it is much more...interesting to say the least.

Thank you for responding though. This is quite a nice personal (and not boring or unreadable) account of why fiction is important to you.

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