How Far Is Going Too Far Anyway?
Posted by BigWords on July 26, 2009
There is a lot of chatter about “unsuitable topics” for novels, short stories, films, television scripts and computer games, though I don’t see how a person can get upset about fiction. What is more important, the story or the writer? You can’t divide the two if there are boundaries caused by the misconception of ‘good taste’, which is a chickenshit way of saying “I’m scared of touching this subject.” Good taste has ruined more books than any other fallacy save for ‘morality’. There are no guidelines, and everyone sits somewhere different on the sliding scale.
In fiction (remember: FICTION) there are no boundaries. Everything, if there is sufficient reason and rationale, should be included in the writer’s arsenal. By shying away from something we give in to the censors, and the religious extremists, and the bigots, and the morons who don’t understand that fiction is make-believe. If I want a talking gorilla to take a chainsaw to a mafia boss in a homage to Scarface, then I’m gonna write the scene. Try and stop me.
But it’s still make-believe. There’s no way a talking gorilla would use a chainsaw in real life, ’cause they prefer katanas.
The subjects which seem to crop up time and time again normally involve cruelty to animals, ‘bad language’ (which doesn’t really exist, but I digress…), murder, rape and racism. Which goes some way to stripping novels of any suspense, drama or intrigue. There are few subjects I would willingly run away from, mainly for one reason-
If a story doesn’t make you think, then it isn’t worth considering.
I’ll go one step further, and state that the hardest subjects to write are often the most involving. Don’t confuse the actual circumstances with the fictions about them, because that way leads to confusion.
Arguments may now begin…