“If Fantasy books make up much of our mythology, and I think strongly that that is true, then I also think that we, in America, have a problem.” This is from Reuters opinion writer Devin Miller. “The problem is that most of our Fantasy isn’t written by Americans about American culture and values.”
Do you agree?
Miller continues in his April 12 column ”Game of Thones,” ”Harry Potter,” ”Chronicles of Narnia”: Where Are All The American Fantasy Characters?:
English values are similar to ours, but they’re still not American. And if mythology is supposed to teach a culture how to act and behave, what type of person you should strive to be, then we have a serious problem, because all our mythology is teaching us how to be good Brits, not good Americans.
If we’re going to teach American culture and beliefs to generation after generation, then we need powerful stories and characters that will remain with us for decades. We need more American Fantasy that speaks to our culture and our values.
A few kick-starter observations:
- If (as I’ve read) the pessimism, sex-and-power-gluttony obsession, and lack of regard for honor and nobility in Game of Thrones are “American values,” Americans might as well emigrate.
- If the mythology-subcreation and heroism in British classic fantasy are “English values,” then we should all become English.
- If that’s true, then Scripture, the only True Myth that inspired those classic writers, is also “English.”
- Yes, some American fantasies try to copy British ones. Yet who loves our Star Trek franchise and superhero comics and films — to the point of outsourcing multiple top actors (Christian Bale, Andrew Garfield, and now Henry Caville) to play our superheroes 1 ? That would be Britain.2
- Which leads to this crucial fact: only if we preconceive a definition of “fantasy” to mean “medieval/magic” do we pretend Americans haven’t already been doing their fair storytelling share. Arguably America’s fantastic storytellers have long been inspired by our motherland’s example. Our pop-culture fantasy/sci-fi/superhero exports are what’s teaching “American culture and beliefs to generation after generation.”