Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stormtroopers, Red Shirts and Scream Queens

The Imperial Stormtrooper of Star Wars is popular fiction's favorite useless henchman. The Red Shirt of Star Trek is the most popular expendable protagonist. The scream queen dominates the cinematic horror genre. We enjoy these characters because they die with style. Their flamboyant mortality makes them immortal.

The Stormtrooper was thrashed by cute little teddy bears. The Red Shirt was turned into a polyhedron and crushed into powder. The scream queen committed involuntary "suicide" by head-butting a wall-mounted television set. They are lambs gathered for inglorious slaughter. They are victims to our grim delight.

Reality is all about consequences. Art and fiction are creative expression. Death in life is the cessation of life and nothing more. In art and fiction, however, it is drama and intensity. Even if expressed in jest, the demise of a character resonates with grim connotations. In both reality and unreality death is cold and darkness. Used artfully, however, it is a rousing theme.

The Stormtrooper, Red Shirt and scream queen are popular because they genuinely entertain us. Their thematic misfortunes thrill and inspire us. We would be at a loss without them.

1 comment:

  1. Fiction is all about expression. We are free to enjoy that which would normally be frowned upon, because it is not real. That which would be sobering becomes a source of entertainment.