Untitled, by Keith Haring (1988)
Back to life, back to reality - back to our regularly scheduled tour of early 80s dance rhythms.
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We've already got the real world. Why would you want fiction to be like the real world? Fiction can do anything, so why do people always want to say, 'Let's ground this' or 'Let's make this realistic.' You can't make it realistic because it's not. So basically Batman is 75 years old, and Robin is 74 years old. They don't grow old because they're different from us. They're paper people.I think there are two points that can be made from this quote:
Then you've got an adult, and adults can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality. You bring them fantasy, and the first thing they say is 'How did he get that way? Why does he dress like that? How did that happen?' It's not real. And beyond that, when you're dealing with characters, they exist on paper. They're real in that context.What does Morrison mean by "fantasy?" There are two colloquial meanings of fantasy at use here, seemingly interchangeably: first, fantasy as something that is axiomatically "not real," a usage that could be used to encompass any variety of daydreaming or strictly impossible activity. "I wish that I won the lottery" is a common enough statement, and for most of us it is strictly fantasy - we haven't and we never will win the lottery, but it's OK to fantasize about having done so. In and of itself, notwithstanding its high improbability, there is nothing fantastic about the idea of winning the lottery: it probably won't happen to you or me, but it is a real thing that can and does happen to real people. Just like getting hit by lightning, or having a one-night stand with a gorgeous celebrity - unlikely, but statistically possible.
A structural correspondence was assumed to exist between the fabulas of narratives and 'real' fabulas, that is between what people do and what actors do in fabulas that have been invented, between what people experience and what actors experience. It makes sense if one realizes that if no homology were to exist at all, no correspondence however abstract, then people would not be able to understand narratives. Two arguments have been introduced against this homology. Firstly, it has been argued that the difference between literature or art and reality has been ignored. Scholars accused French structuralist CLaude Bremond, for example, of this error on the basis of the latter's 'logic of events.' However, it is not a question of concrete identity but rather of structural similarity. Pointing out correspondences does not imply that absolute equality is being suggested. Another objection to postulating the 'real-life' homology is that, in certain types of narrative texts - for example, fantastic, absurd, or experimental - such a homology is absent; in fact, these texts are characterized by their denial or distortion of the logic of reality. This objection can be addressed in two ways again. The denial, distortion, or, as is now often said, 'deconstruction' of a realistic story-line is something altogether different from its absence. On the contrary, there is clearly something worth denying. This objection can also be countered with the argument that readers, intentionally or not, search for a logical line in such a text. They spend a great amount of energy in this search, and, if necessary, they introduce such a line themselves. Emotional involvement, aesthetic pleasure, suspense, and humor depend on it. No matter how absurd, tangled, or unreal a text may be, readers will tend to regard what they consider 'normal' as a criterion by which they can give meaning to the text, even if that meaning can only be articulated in opposition to that normality.[Emphases mine.] Bal, Mieke. Narratology. Second Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2004.Readers will always seek a thru-line throughout whatever text is presented them, and their desire to create consistency and stability in even the most abstruse or seemingly unreal narratives will increase in direct proportion to their investment in said narratives. If someone likes a story, they've already invested a great deal into making that story "work" on some level; if someone likes a story a lot, they've got a lot riding on whether or not that story "pans out," and are likely to expend a great deal of effort to make the various moving parts move in a satisfactory manner.