Patience: Pop Culture, An Escape from Reality

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Patience: Pop Culture, An Escape from Reality

By Alisa Patience

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I recently read “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon for class. It’s a book that argues for the artistic and social value of comic books in the 1940s and 1950s.

Then and now, many who consider themselves mature and of higher intelligence will claim they have no time to read anything that isn’t classic literature. They claim that things like television and popular art, or the things that are made to appeal to “simple-minded people,” cannot be true forms of art.

Art is anything that a person creates out of expression, no matter by whom or for whom it is made. Having a goal or target audience for a piece of media doesn’t mean it no longer is worthy of the term “art.” Pop culture is not a lack of culture.

Art and fiction of any sort are extremely valuable. They can act as forms of therapy, escapism, inspiration and comfort.

The creation of different forms of art, especially fiction, is therapeutic for the creator. It is nearly impossible to keep oneself out of the characters created, feelings out of colors or hidden truths through words. Writers often say, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

In “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” the protagonist, a writer, learns about his desire to escape and be wonderful. In creating sidekicks for his main heroes, he works through issues created by his terrible relationship with his father. The artist of the stories is able to fight and kill Nazis, something he couldn’t do in person.

Creating graphically violent images relieve him of his rage. This is one of the reasons singer-songwriters enjoy what they do. It helps them get through heartbreak, loss, failure or embarrassment. This is also why art therapy is recommended and well-received. Creation channels emotions and acts as a door into one’s own mind.

Who doesn’t love to watch trashy sit-coms? I know I do. There’s a reason they exist. At the end of long days full of boredom, drama, tragedy and stress, people need a break. So television shows like “Friends” and “Parks and Recreation” were created to provide laughter and fun, something people desperately need before going to bed. True, denying a problem won’t fix it, but taking a break from constant depressive thinking helps people think clearly. Things like young-adult novels, pointless TV shows, video games, top-20 songs, fan art and comic books provide an escape from reality; we need them to stay sane.

Art and fiction aren’t just helpful to a person’s mental health; they can also become powerful tools for creativity. Fiction inspires children not only to follow their dreams, but to exercise, learn, love, fight and believe in themselves. That’s why children’s books or children’s media typically have easily followable plots and almost always have a happy ending.

No one can really decide which pieces of art or fiction are worthy of time, affection or study. All art is important to someone, even if that someone is the artist themself.

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