Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy endings

Graham and I have been watching The Avengers, the animated series.  Lots of gamma radiation, intense battles with aliens and supercriminals, etc. Somehow, despite battling against seemingly insurmountable foes, the Avengers always find a way to win. And if they quarreled in the middle of the show (as they sometimes do), they make up in the end.

Got me thinking about happy endings. Of course kids' stuff always works out well in the end. Thank God for that.  But 98% of the fictional narratives we adults consume also end well, and the 2% that doesn't is usually high-brow in one way or another and hard to make money on.

So we are hard-wired to expect that things will work out in the end.*  And that makes it hard for us to really buy the possibility of things turning out really poorly, as with global warming, the obesity/diabetes epidemic, etc. We just expect a deus ex machina of some sort to swoop in and figure it out.  In fact, that's the conservative argument, if we fuck ourselves badly enough science will be forced to discover a solution. Hey, it always does, right?

*Denis de Rougemont, in his Love in the Western World, makes a pretty good case that we prefer tragic endings in love narratives, from Tristan and Iseult ff, but that's a different story

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Endings make me think enhancement creme was involved. Thanks for teeing up that headline.