Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: LGBT Characters in Fiction

There is a YouTuber named Vee who I really need to give some credit to.  I watch his videos and I often don’t finish them because his videos have given me so much to talk about.  This post is no exception.  In fact, here’s a link to his channel, just so I feel like I’m not being a complete dick to this guy.  It’s only fair to give credit where it’s due.  I wrote a long time ago about the last season of Legend of Korra.  I didn’t like it.  There was WAY too much plot crammed into far too few episodes.  They needed to space that out more.  Like having the season go to 20 episodes or something.  It was insane how crammed that was.  I didn’t like it.  It effed with the pacing and made it impossible for there to be any character development.  Which was important, considering the fact that it was clear that the villain in this season was meant to be somewhat likable.  Or at least someone where we don’t outright hate her.  She was supposed to be sympathetic.  That made sense.  Given how perfect the previous season was, it just felt like a step in the wrong direction.

The elephant in the room, though, was the big twist at the very end of the series.  A twist that had NO build-up and came right the fuck out of nowhere.  Anyone who knows how I overanalyze stuff will be able to see my opinion of this is going.  I didn’t like it.  Let me make something VERY clear – I have no problem if there is a gay, lesbian, bi, trans, whatever character in a fictional work.  For real, it doesn’t bother me at all.  But there’s a caveat to this – it has to make sense.  It has to feel like this isn’t just something being shoe-horned in to either make some political or something statement.  That’s how good story-telling works.  I have the same problem with any kind of character relationship that seems forced.  Relationships have to feel like they are building.  It has to feel like it developed over time and is real.

Let me give you an example.  Whoever the writers are at Naughty Dog studios, those people are utter geniuses.  Using only dialogue, they are able to make relationships that not only feel real, but also are ones that we can emotionally connect to.  They released a piece of DLC to their game The Last of Us where we get to meet Ellie’s friend Riley.  In the course of a DLC that takes a couple hours, not only do they introduce their relationship as friends, but you get to see it develop.  When Ellie ends up kissing Riley, that feels like it was real, because we got to know and care about these characters.  Their relationship wasn’t some forced thing to fill a quota.  Granted, Naughty Dog is very SJW friendly (a fact that has recently bit them in the ass with their latest game and a little controversy surrounding it.  Hopefully that was a lesson to them about pandering to these people), but it still didn’t feel like pandering.  This was a real relationship.  If it weren’t for the STUPID ending to the DLC with a hope speech, it would have been really touching to know that Riley is going to die.  Like if they had had it be very uncathartic.  With Ellie and her just waiting, and eventually Riley turning, while she doesn’t.  Given the emotional weight she was carrying, that would have fit.

Or hey, while we’re talking about The Last of Us, let’s talk about Joel and Ellie.  What Joel does at the end of that game is something that has a lot of gamers getting into heated debates.  I got into one myself when someone tried to postulate that it is Joel who is the real villain of the game.  I argue that he isn’t, and there’s a reason.  Over the course of this game, you see a man who became an emotional brick wall soften and have a paternal side that was long dead be woken up because of this little girl in his charge.  She becomes like a daughter to him.  When he is running with her out of the hospital, listen to what he says to her.  Compare that to what he said to his actual daughter at the very beginning, and it makes sense.  This man lost everything.  Now, he is about to lose everything again.  So he chooses to sell humanity up the river in order to save the person he cares for most.  To hold on to his regained connection to the human condition, he basically sentences humanity to death.  I kind of love that.  Not only is the moral ambiguity awesome, but it makes sense.  The reason we don’t hate Joel is because we understand why he’s doing it.  This is a man who doesn’t want to lose the only person he cares for.  It’s kind of great.  It makes Ellie’s acceptance of his lie that much more compelling, because she has her own lines that she has to make peace with.

Do you see what I’m talking about?  I legitimately do not care if there is some sexuality in a fictional work, so long as it makes sense.  Korra and Asami’s relationship came right the fuck out of nowhere.  There was no build-up.  We never saw them getting close.  Hell, the series never even committed to it anyway, so why bring it into the series at all?!  The SJW community gets all raving and shit when there is an LGBT relationship in a series.  They don’t care about context, because nuance is this weird form of witchcraft to these people.  They can look at it, but they don’t understand it.

Unpopular as it is, if there is an LGBT character in a series, and their relationship doesn’t make sense, I am going to think that it’s stupid.  Take that for what you will.

Until next time, a quote,

“Continuity does not rule out fresh approaches to fresh situations.”  -Dean Rusk

Peace out,

Maverick

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6 thoughts on “Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: LGBT Characters in Fiction

  1. The last season of Korra bothered me, as well. I may not be as neutral as you are on the whole ‘LGBT relationships in entertainment media’ thing; I’m a traditional values kind of guy personally, and I don’t like seeing the sexual preferences of a small percentage of the population mainstreamed and shoehorned into so much of popular culture. And SJWs are so obnoxious about it, too. The introduction of it into cartoons and video games in recent years, I find troubling.

    That said, it’s still mostly a free country, and if writers and devs want to include LGBT characters and relationships in their creations, that’s their prerogative. I can for the most part avoid that kind of content if I find it objectionable (and I don’t always). But as you point out, the least they can do is tell a good story and not make it feel like they’re trying to be hip or fill some quota.

    • Interesting comment. Though, I wouldn’t call myself neutral. I’m biased as fuck. Though my bias isn’t toward anything so pointless as “traditional values.” It is more toward the telling of a good story. Both the religious right and the SJW left have the same problem – they want the eschewing of a good story or one that makes sense in place of having their values represented. That is something I cannot abide.

      • “Pointless” is a pretty subjective valuation. We each have our own values and beliefs that contribute to who we are and how we live and interact with the world around us.

        I do agree that the telling of a good story is something to be valued, and I’m not suggesting that one should avoid all content that runs counter to one’s own morality or beliefs. I mean if that’s what floats your boat, sure, but I enjoy a good old violent movie as much as the next guy. Most of us draw the line somewhere. A lot of people don’t enjoy watching horror movies that are essentially just torture porn. But as far as hearing/seeing opposing ideas and viewpoints, I think it’s good for one’s ideas to be challenged. Sometimes you’ll change your mind and sometimes your original feelings will just be strengthened.

        For me personally, I like a good story that also represents my values, even if or sometimes especially when it’s subtle (see Tolkien and C.S. Lewis for example). That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy media that portray contrary values and ideas. I often do, and I also enjoy picking the hell out of them. =P

        I guess I’m just grasping at saying that I agree with the point you were making, just perhaps in a different way. If a story sucks, then the underlying themes are ill-served anyway.

      • As I said, it’s an interesting perspective. I just think that “traditional values” are stupid. Really, really stupid. I said that I am not actually neutral. I do like my ideas challenged. Hence why I am friends with and watch all kinds. But at the end of the day, despite trying to at least give people or ideas a fair shake, I still have the conclusions I have come to. My conclusion is that traditional values give nothing to society, and I honestly don’t feel bad if they up and disappear tomorrow. When I was a kid growing up, I continually heard on the news that traditional values are dying, and that any day there were going to be orgies and all kinds of debauchery in the streets. I’m still waiting for that future.

      • Hey, power to you. Each of us must find his own way and draw his own conclusions. I would just submit that Western Civilization is built upon “traditional (Judeo-Christian) values.” Sure, human beings and our societies are imperfect. But I’d say the 10 Commandments are a pretty good starting point for how to live. Or even just the Golden Rule.

        I can’t expect everyone to agree with me, of course. My worldview is inextricably linked with being a Christian. My view on the whole LGB (I consider the “T” thing a separate issue) matter is that sure, there is real value in happiness. But I’d argue that not everything that makes us happy is good for us. If you believe in a divine truth, then some things are good and bad for the soul, and there is an intentional and complementary nature in the union of a man and a woman.

        There are biological arguments to be made as well, but I suppose it can be argued that human society has developed beyond the need for incentivizing procreation.

        I’m not saying anything like “teh gayz are going 2 hell.” I just don’t particularly like seeing what I consider spiritually disordered behavior promulgated.

        Anyway, it wasn’t my original intention to preach at you, so I’ll stop there. =P

        Keep up with the writing!

      • If society was built on Christian values, then you have to explain how great societies existed before Christianity did. I’ll leave it at that.

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