Media is LIFE. Maybe more for some than others… But if there’s anything I’ve learned since being at Trinity, it’s that media of all form, be it fiction or non, is one of the few things we all share. We watch TV, we play video games, we read books, magazines, comics, and newspapers. We go to the movies, and buy the extended DVD months later. We consume, produce, praise, and complain about media. We enjoy the entertainment media provides for us, and we gain knowledge about local and world events through it. Without media we would be at a loss…
Having come across all of this over the past few years, I had expected to be relatively unsurprised by the information learned through this course. I was, of course, both excited and surprised to find that my “understanding” of media’s importance in our lives was merely skimming the surface. The emergence of transmedia storytelling is beginning to revolutionize the way we consume entertainment. What was once conveyed through the sole medium of the voice has now begun to leak through every facet of technology and media into every crevice of our lives. Shows like Dr. Who are conveyed through every medium possible. Crude cartoons are referencing classical works that were previously reserved for those who were educated and interested enough to seek them out. Alternate Reality Gaming has infiltrated and consumed the lives of those who choose to participate, without even admitting to it’s fictional nature. TV shows and movies use real time events linked to stories to promote their release, or to keep consumers interested. People work together to complete games, understand stories, and mold narratives to their own specifications with fanfiction. Scholars study, analyze, and theorize about the nature of the story– and how it is changing the very fabric of what we perceive to be reality. In a world where reality has become the enemy, escape into fiction is immersive and important to our sanity. Entertainment provides a change from the norm…. perhaps not completely separate from the common themes of reality, but apart from our own personal reality. Stories allow us to forget ourselves and enter into a new world.
Whether this is a change for the better or for the worse, I have yet to discover. Creativity abounds as storytellers must find new ways to hook their audiences. Imaginations are stimulated by the constant need to step outside reality to understand a story. But when fiction becomes more appealing than reality, what is to be said about society? Should we not be investing ourselves in making the real world more satisfying? Should we not strive to make life better for those who feel that they must immerse themselves in fiction to find their way through life? Or is the story really what keeps humanity together? History in itself, as we discussed in class, is nothing but a series of stories strung together to teach us about what has passed.
This class has opened my eyes to both the severity and levity of our situation. I’ve truly enjoyed creating stories to be consumed by others, and coming to understand how complicated it really is to do it right. Similarly, I have been given a Thanksgiving meal for thought. Now when i see an episode of Family Guy, i find myself searching for intertextual references, appreciating the show, and those like it, on a whole new level. Regardless of the reasons behind the importance of stories in society, they provide endless entertainment. The good ones can even open our eyes to the joys and hardships of life with a graceful touch. The bad ones give us something to bitch about (and god knows, we LOVE to bitch). They’re everywhere. Sometimes they’re everything. Stories are the future, the past, and the present. There’s no escaping them, and there’s no denying their existence. It’s a truly amazing concept…
On another note, here’s the link to Evan and I’s comic/journal/short story narrative.
A great end to a great semester in a great class :]