Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Sneaky Way

I think sometimes it is very difficult to share personal experience and personal opinion.  Maybe it is because we are afraid of being judged, ridiculed or analyzed.  Maybe it is because there is such a thing as "over sharing"- T.M.I. and the whole casting-pearls-before-swine thing.  Regardless, today is the age where information can be shared and spread very quickly and it can become "viral" instantly, either in a good way or a bad way.  In no time at all, you can be praised or maligned by people around the world. Because of this, political or personal subjects are risky to share and have to be shared in the right way...maybe from the viewpoint of someone else.

I think we all have sought advice by saying "So my friend (insert controversial topic here)" to someone we trust or value their opinion, really referring to ourselves.  It is because we don't want to be judged or we want to gauge the reaction of others before spilling the beans.  This takes the personal connection out.  They can't be disappointed or angry at us because it was "our friend" who believed in such-or-such or got in trouble with so-and-so.

This is why it is a good tactic to share beliefs, strong opinions, politics and all other controversial topics through fiction. The blame or praise can all be placed on someone who doesn't actually exist.  I think Douglas Thayer does a fantastic job of this in his recent novel, "Will Wonders Never Cease" in which a mother talks about taboo subjects like sex, masturbation, same-sex attraction, and political correctness.  The mother essentially tears into her son for calling someone "gay" which arises thoughts on accepting people in the Mormon community who have such affiliations.  She affirmed that they can be strong, active and completely worthy members of the church if they continue to live the same commandments everyone else does.  There has been much controversy about this recently in the church, and it is a good way in narrative form to sneakily bring in Thayer's thoughts on the subject.
 I think if Thayer wrote it from a personal narrative, he might get a lot of hateful comments as being blatantly pro-gay or maybe affiliated that way.  But, like I said, opinions coming from fictional characters allow for people to be a little more un-attached and not necessarily attack ideas they don't believe in because those ideas could be fictional.


  1. I never thought of the "so my friend" scenerio as a form of fiction, but it really is. A good explanation of a already prominent use of fiction and its power in our society.

  2. I totally agree when you say: opinions coming from fictional characters allow the writer to be a little more unattached, which also allows him to express his ideas without inhibitions.