Popular fiction still reflects life

Have you noticed that in recent times, almost every successful movie is about ground-breaking special effects? There are hardly any new movies celebrating ordinary life, not the popular ones at least. Majority of recent movies are about superheroes or survival in a post-apocalyptic world.
post monsoon bloom on a cactusI read somewhere, I think this was in reference to a time when popular literature reflected the same trend, that it implied a suppressed and unhappy society looking for a way out of their mediocrity and daily grind. Super heroes provided the readers with not only an easy and romantic means of escape, it also empowered flailing egos and low self-esteem of leading a rut infested life. And fiction about post-apocalyptic societies made the common reader feel better about his own miserable existence.
These are projections easiest to digest by the masses while still being connected to the dynamic causality of each individual’s self-worth. This is in direct contrast to, say, the 80’s when a booming economy and happier times produced popular movies geared more towards relationships and inner reflections which were more emotionally involving than escapists in nature. I suppose it comes down to priorities. We pine after what we don’t have and if two hours of flickering images and sounds are able to transport us to a world just like ours but where we can make a difference and be recognized for our worth, it makes our mundane lives that much easier.
bees gathering to drink water on our fish tankNotice that there are no more movies (not the popular ones at least) based on difficult relationships or emotional stakes. It’s no longer trendy with so much technology around us to invest our energies in endeavors that could result in emotional efforts or suffering. We just want euphoria without any risk.
Our values have also changed. I guess that is part of transient trends much like fashion and styles. We no longer give much stock to long term emotional gains. If a relationship bears instant fruit we are willing to invest self-determined time and efforts to sustain it even if it means not being physically present for most of the sharing. If it can’t be expressed in a chat or fulfilled by a random status update, it’s considered too much effort.
Life works both ways. Popular fiction, movies or books, reflect the current issues plaguing the masses. Still, a lot of people remain undecided about how they feel with their lives or its values. Here our popular media nudges them over to the populist vote. It’s a tipping point. Once enough movies of superheroes are popular then people actually start believing that perhaps this is the escape they’ve needed to lead a more satisfying life without realizing. I know middle-aged adults who have fallen prey to this reverse effect our fiction has. It can reflect current life but sometimes it can also create an illusion of need when the intensity is intended primarily for entertainment. Or simple economic gains to its creators who chose a trending theme for the farthest reach.
With today’s trends of hyper-driven lives, most of us are busy with the destination – the idea of journey being of any importance left behind with the passing of the last century. It’s considered childish or immature to aim for emotional satisfaction. We forget that sometimes these pedantic rituals are part of the joys of life. To paraphrase an ancient Greek philosopher, a full stomach does not mean that rest of life’s needs are nulled.

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