Hello My Imaginary Friends,
Let’s talk about stories. We as a species have been telling each other tales, probably as long as we’ve had language to tell them.
In school you most likely learned that there are only 3 kinds of narrative conflicts:
- Person Vs Person;
- Person Vs Self; or
- Person Vs Nature.
Theoreticians, specifically Christopher Booker, have said that there are a limited amount of stories that can be told (Seven if you’re interested). A lot of those that don’t agree with Christopher Booker, agree that we have told every story that can be told. That brilliant concept you have for a novel? It’s been done. That cool hook for a D&D game? Done! That awesome 3 cord progression for a pop song? Done, Done, Done!
If it has all been done, what’s the point?
Every human being is different. Everyone sees the world through a completely different lens. What I understand isn’t what you understand.
When we write, we’re writing about our hopes, dreams, fears, and realities. This means that even if 100 people wrote a variation of Robin Hood, they would all be completely different. They would reflect the person, bias, and society they live in. (Side note: it’s quite possible that 100 is an understatement for Robin Hood.)
Combining and building stories is a form of entertainment but it’s also a way to re-enforce morals, express ideas, and explain difficult concepts.
Writing or telling a story is never a wasted exercise, it’s a form of expression.
Attachment and Emotion (AKA: My Precious!)
To Gollum, the One Ring was his purpose for life, it was everything to him. To Bilbo and Frodo, it was a security blanket; to Sauron, it was a Horcrux and means to power; but to Sam it was just a burden.
Like the Ring, people get attached to stories. They can illicit memories and emotions of a better, or perceived better, time and place. Attributing more value to a story is a form of nostalgia and often clouds peoples judgement as to the quality of the story.
What you get from a story isn’t what someone else gets. One person might find the love story between Buffy and Angel as romantic and another might find it disturbing. The reason is that we filter everything we experience through our own bias, lens, and ideals.
Don’t be Gollum
Once you accept that everyone already has their own version of stories, you have the choice to either open up your mind and learn from others, or be a Gollum and cling angrily to your version. This gets even worse with re-tellings, re-imaginings, or remakes.
The important thing to remember is that your Precious isn’t going anywhere. No one is going to burn all the other versions, no one is going to erase them, they’re still there for you to enjoy.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RUINING YOUR CHILDHOOD!
I’ve heard this phrase a lot and the memories you have of your favourite Precious, cannot and should not be tarnished by a new version.
The only way something can be ruined for you is if you re-watch it and realize that it was crap all along. But that doesn’t negate your emotions or the enjoyment you had watching it for the first time.
It’s officially the most hated movie trailer on Youtube. You’ll find more anger towards it in internet comments sections than any other human endeavor. There are conspiracy theories that anyone who liked it was paid to say so by Sony.
The hate for the movie is completely unjustified. It is a re-telling of a movie that was a re-telling of other myths. (Frankly it would be easy enough to map the journey of the heroes with the traditional Hero’s Journey, or more specifically, a rip off of Beowulf.)
I realize that most of the hate for this movie is misogyny veiled as nostalgia, but that’s a whole other post.
Conclusion: Get Over It!
Stories will be told and re-told ad nauseum, either get over it or stop consuming anything new. It’s not your place to dictate what others create or consume. If you believe it is, you’re wrong.
Myths, Legends, and Stories will continue to be explored. It’s human nature to explore our existence through stories. What better way to explore themes of humanity than by re-telling our favourite stories?