As an American fantasy writer, the coming year shows great promise. Presidential elections never fail to bring out some of the most creative fantasy writing. The distinctions between fact and fantasy blur, and large segments of the population redefine their willing suspension of disbelief.
Words are a writer’s stock and trade. During election campaigns, words take on new meanings and connotations.This is a good thing from a writer’s perspective. In the absence of such a thing as an “original" story, an expanded lexicon permits a greater variety of ways to retell an otherwise threadbare tale. If the leftist press is too slow to appreciate the new significance of a word, the politician’s followers can always explain it to these unusually obtuse individuals on Wikipedia.
Fear mongering is a staple of political campaigns. Demonizing portions of the populace is part of a standard political playbook. This is great for fantasy writers. I’ve got demons in my books, too. I’ve got major demons, minor demons, and even nano-demons. If the public is willing to accept half of the nonsense spewed by politicians, then the professional fantasy writer should be able to seize the imagination of at least, say, a quarter of it. This should translate into increased sales.
Let’s examine what can politics do for fantasy writing. Voodoo is no longer limited to zombies. It extends to economics. Huge treasures can appear or disappear by redefinition, without the aid of a magic lamp. Mana trickles down from socio-economic demi-gods to the plates of mere mortal day laborers. Rabid, drooling organized labor mercenaries drag poor unsuspecting workers from their travails, and force them to become mindless union members (defying the very plain, straightforward explanations of the feckless, deluded Supreme Court, that there is no such thing as mandatory union membership). People’s health and well being is improved by allowing companies to pour more pollutants into the environment. This is great stuff. Why didn’t we published fantasy writers think of it?
Actually, we did. Since facts so often get in the way of the politician’s goals and objectives, the politician has learned to rely on fantasy. There is a natural give and take between the fantasist and the politician, an undeniable and powerful symbiosis that should be embraced by both. The most resolute hard core “values” voter would be cast adrift without some underlying evil to be thwarted. Who knows better how to create evil and how to thwart it than the fantasy writer? So every time a politician rises above the rabble as a champion of the people, the fantasist should be taking notes.
Still, one gets bored with standard Utopian themes like expanding human rights (religious and racial tolerance, acceptance of sexual orientations other than one’s own, etc.) or actually improving access to health care. Yawn. Since facts are not an issue, it is time for politicians to reach out and explore new fantasies.
There are some fantasy themes that I’d like the politicians to take a crack at in the coming year. Let’s have some politician threaten to take away anti-trust exemptions from major league baseball until the Cubs win the World Series.
According to the 2011 Farm Subsidy Database, http://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=00000&progcode=tobacco, “Tobacco Subsidies in the United States totaled $1.1 billion from 1995-2010,” and $194,435,671 in 2010 alone. Let’s have some politician insist that health care benefits for congressmen be reduced dollar for dollar to match and fund tobacco subsidies.
Fantasy writers have given politicians so much material to work with. It is only fair that politicians repay the favor. If the politicians play their part in the coming year, then when the recount challenges work their way through the courts, like Rick and Captain Renault at the end of Casablanca, the politicians and the fantasy writers can start a beautiful friendship.
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