How to Enjoy Good Stories and Forget Bad Jokes

Photo of angry man credit:  Tycho Atsma on Unsplash
TV photo credit: Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash

They say, never meet your heroes.  You'll always be let down. But let's be honest, it's not just your heroes that are out there letting you down. It’s pretty much everybody,  and you have to meet those clowns all the time. 

This post is sort of about some heroes, but it's more about learning to enjoy good stories. And a little about forgetting bad jokes (that's at the end). 

If that sounds a little fatalistic, we apologize. It’s just that the internet had been dishing up a large dose of stupid lately. We already mentioned the weird controversy about multiethnic elves and hobbits in Rings of Power. Now there’s evidently some indignant reactions to Disney’s decision to cast an African American woman (singer/actress Halle Bailey) in the role of Ariel in their remake of The Little Mermaid.

Because you really need your half fish/half human hybrids to be ethnically pure. Dare we say,  "Arialan"?

We are required by law to follow up a bad joke with this gif

There are good reasons to not be thrilled with the remake of a Disney classic (where’s the original ideas?), or with the idea of the Rings of Power (does Galadriel really need to be an action star?). But to reject a creative take just because the characters have a different skin color? You can see why that might seem flakey at best.

How to Enjoy Good Stories

Anyway, let’s circle back to the “meeting your heroes” idea at the start. We’re huge J.R.R. Tolkien fans (as we’ve mentioned before). And we’ve read enough about his world outlook to say without a doubt that we have no idea how Tolkien would respond to this take of Rings of Power. And who knows how Hans Christian Anderson would react to an African American mermaid.

We like thinking that they’d say, “That’s cool. Let’s see where this goes.”

But it doesn’t matter. Middle Earth and the world Under the Sea were created to invite audiences into worlds not our own, with stories to captivate all of us. Is it really so upsetting to have those stories reflect more of the very real people who want to enjoy them?

Stories can grow and adapt. The Little Mermaid cartoon movie you watched isn't a completely faithful adaptation of the original story. It was updated for a contemporary audience. So too is this newest incarnation. 

So things change. And the way we look at things change.  The way others look at things is not the same way we do, whether it’s fables, mythology, or horrible jokes.

About that last one: our latest video is how a (probably) bad joke birthed something far worse. You should watch it.

And if you like it, or have thoughts on this post, leave a comment.

And if you’ve got some time, check out some of our latest humor and pop culture posts:


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