Monday, June 15, 2015 5:04 PM
When Game of Thrones started on HBO I avoided it, assuming that it would be the soft-core-porn/period-costume-soap-opera/bloodlust-gross-out that most semi-serious Premium-Channel Series-es are. It wasn’t until the genius of Trey Parker and Matt Stone presented me with the three-episode trilogy-spoof of GOT on South Park (with that unforgettable theme: ‘Floppy wieners, floppy wieners…’) that I became interested in just how outside the norm this show was.
Parker and Stone seemed to think that HBO’s dramatization of George R. R. Martin’s decade-long book series, “Fire and Ice”, was representative of homoeroticism, women-hating, and a thirst for bloodshed that didn’t speak well for Martin’s interior life. (–And that he talked a good dragon game but when it came down to it there wasn’t much actual dragon in the story.)
Having watched seasons four and five now, I have to agree with Trey and Matt. But as I considered that, I was also struck by the differences between George R. R. Martin’s GOThrones and J.R.R. Tolkien’s TLOTRings (via Peter Jackson). While the double-R middle initials are indicative of just how derivative GOT is of everything Middle Earth, the differences between the kids’ fantasies and the adults’ fantasies are somewhat surprising.
Martin is only one of a long line of ‘followers’ of Tolkien’s original vision of a realistic fantasy world, but Martin’s creative plagiarism is far exceeded by his creative originality in transforming Tolkien-ish memes for an adult audience. That is something even Tolkien never did (and we won’t go into the question of whether or not he just had too much class to go there). It may not have been possible to do so, had Martin not lucked into a generation of grown-ups who grew up on Bilbo and Frodo and Gandalf—but that’s part and parcel of our modern media-hungry culture. It’s no worse than going from Star Wars to Terminator, if you think about it.
Most interesting, to me, is the difference in variety. In a child’s fantasy there are kings, princesses, dragons, wizards, ghosts, monsters, elves, dwarves, and woodland creatures that speak in English accents. In adult fantasies there is sex, violence, power, and corruption—oh, and dragons. Is this representative of the Uncertainty Principle—like Schrödinger’s Cat? Does a child’s fantasy need to match the breadth of a child’s potential future, while an adult’s fantasy needs only indulge the lusts of adulthood? I’m afraid so.
And we see this phenomenon elsewhere—puberty as a singularity, wherein all childish dreams are resolved into the comparatively dreary day-to-day urges of adults who have shed their dreams. I blame it on Capitalism—on our modern beliefs: that money is power—that money is everything—and that dreams are only for children. Something some Tea-Partier said to me online the other day during an exchange over illegal immigration seems to sum it up—he said, “It’s good to be nice, but…” And that, to me, says it all—today, we believe that the things people have always believed in should always bow before the power of money—ethics, scruples, charity, mercy—all bullshit when the bill comes due. I’m sorry, but that’s fucked up.
Like freedom, ethics and principles only exist when we are prepared to lose something for them. I’m not just talking about the grandiose idea of being willing to die for what you believe in. Today, the question is: Are we prepared to be inconvenienced for what we believe in? Are we prepared to make less money, even to make no money until we find another job? When we try to minimize the importance of our urges to ‘cheat’ on our principles in the smallest of ways, we are really minimizing the importance of the principles themselves.
Yes, that does sound like some goody-two-shoes bullshit right there—fresh off the farm. But when you consider the insidiousness of today’s commercialism; when you consider the constancy of the thousand cuts that lobbyists inflict on our government; when you see or hear the thousand new ways to lie spawned by global media—perhaps you can see where some determination in those of us on the side of the angels is in order.
I feel for the fundamentalists—I do. They want to strike back at the filth. But the true filth is invisible to them—just as their ignorance makes their own hatred invisible to them. As I’ve heard many times—‘if you want to kill someone in the name of your God please start with yourself’. Plus, I feel that any attitude that includes murder, or even mild violence, is lacking in the rationality department. (And, yes, trying to legislate women’s reproductive organs and ostracizing gays are both forms of violence).
Some people look at Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. as people who had the courage to face violence without offering violence in return. But many people look at them as people who were murdered. They don’t acknowledge that a person’s principles are not a suit of clothes—they are a part of ourselves. If we give them up, we die in a far more final way than when we meet the inevitable, whenever that may come.
I have some experience in this so I can tell you—it’s nearly impossible to talk about being good without sounding like a goody-two-shoes or worse, sounding grandiose and all Christ-complex-ey. But fuck all you assholes—I’m gonna be good—and if that doesn’t work out to me being rich and famous, I don’t give a fuck. I’m doing it anyway. Fuck all y’all. Oh-and fuck George R.R. Martin’s GOT—twenty minutes of shame-walking a naked woman through city streets for the season five finale—what the fuck is that? Misogyny much, George?