Friday, October 05, 2007

Thoughts From A Future Anthropologist

There’s something wrong with the world today. Actually, that’s not entirely true – there are a lot of somethings wrong. There are so many times that we complain about the world around us and most of the time these complaints aren’t voiced with much perspective. I complain about my job, my homework, my crackpot Comp II teacher, my financial status… the list could go on. That’s what I mean by there being a lot of things wrong. You could, of course, look at the bigger picture: overpopulation, the decline of fossil fuels, the war in the Middle East, terrorist activities, world hunger, poverty… I’m sure you see what I mean. There are so many things to be upset about in both our world and our day to day lives – which leads me to wonder, why do we go out of our way to find wrong in the things that we enjoy?

Let’s start with an example most everyone who reads this blog can relate to: comic books. I believe that for most of us comic book fans we began our hobby because we enjoyed reading comic books. We loved the world of dynamic colors, bold statements, daring characters and far reaching places. I personally enjoy delving into new places and dealing with strange and familiar situations along with my favorite characters. I feel happy when I read comic books – at least, most of the time. That’s the hitch you see – most of the time.

There’s a time a place for complaints. Complaining, even about selfish and arbitrary concerns, helps us put things in perspective – perhaps even blow of steam. However, when these complaints begin to take over as our actual method of enjoying something I believe it’s gone to far.

I’ve found that in this world of bloggers as critics that there is less and less enjoyment of the actual items that we review (this blog is an exception - as much as we criticize at times, overall we still enjoy comic books for what they are). Critics actually seem to enjoy ripping apart even the most innocent of stories these days. I am having a hard time understanding this.

Yes, comics have changed (and yet not) over the years. This is normal. I still love reading them though. Are we expecting more out of our comics than we should? Look at the early days of comic book writing in comparison to what we’re offered today. As much as I advocate the idea of teaching certain comic books in the classroom as literature I don’t expect every book to be a work of art. Comic books should be fun. They should make us smile, even when they’re corny or silly or cliché. They shouldn’t make us angry or bitter - if they do, we should probably take a step back and reevaluate why we’re reading them. When we start enjoying the process of ripping something to shreds more than the act of enjoying something for what it is I think we lose part of ourselves. The same part we lose as we grow up, bit by bit, and cease to be in awe of the world around us.

I suppose the point of this little rant is that I see us, as a people, becoming more and more prone to finding our delights in anger, cynicism and destruction. One could argue that this is just how humanity is, but I can’t believe that. This is how we choose to be, we choose to allow our despair to overcome joy. Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I have to be, the only other choice is giving up on the human race and there’s still a chance for us. We can still become the Federation, the United Earth or the ideal of Antediluvian civilization. All I ask is that the next time you want to say something harsh about, say, a comic book, take a step back. Acknowledge the bad but make sure to recognize the good, and if you can no longer see the good, take the time to wonder why. Most of life is perspective. Make yours a good one.


  1. Good post - much better then the last two days.

  2. Brainiac, I agree with you. I guess I'm still somewhat naive when I read my books. I don't automatically look for the negative. If I don't enjoy the book the first time around, I give it another read to see if I missed something. Sometimes it's tough, but sometimes you do feel like you've wasted 3 bucks.