Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Confusing Service with Fame

In Oprah’s last episode, she said some words that outlined a current cultural trend that people can see, but aren’t really talking about. Her words were, “We’re all confused about fame versus service.” Though she didn’t elaborate, the trend that she is referring to is evident in the way that Tyrese (Why can’t he just shut up, sing and be fine?!), Steve Harvey and even Monique have rebranded themselves as self-help gurus. 

Obviously, they would not have reached the level of success that they did without actually reaching someone with their advice, but are their intentions completely genuine, or are they just seeking to extend their fame? The self-help industry is booming. With so many people looking to launch careers as entertainers, and the internet making it increasingly difficult to make money off of music and movies, these stars are turning to another outlet to ensure their success and keep their names in the papers. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Neverending Life of Good Storytelling (free-write)

I've been obsessed with storytelling lately. I realized recently that most of the art that I truly love is rooted in good storytelling. Films, images, songs, books, even advertisements are all ways to tell stories. The ones that captivate us most are the ones that tell the story well.

I saw the last Harry Potter movie last weekend, and I developed a newfound appreciation for JK Rowling's ability to tell a rich story; every one and everything had a life, whether it was central to the plot or not. When Harry and Co. are in the Room of Requirement, some little bat-like creatures scurry from the clutter. Their moment in the movie was brief, but they weren't without purpose. Rowling made the Potter universe so rich that it's not difficult to imagine that the little bats as the central characters of their own novel.

In well-told stories, everything in intentional. I highlight Rowling because, in the Potter universe she could have created dozens of fantastical creatures, just for the fun of it. But she didn't. And that's often the criticism of fantasy and science fiction. The emphasis is usually more on the fantasy and less on the intentions behind it. The audience may be wowed initially by the novelty, but that eventually wears off, and the art is soon forgotten.

So here's to intentional storytelling. The stuff of legend. The stuff that lasts.