After another tutorial with Matt, I’ve surmised that life is one great ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book. In essence, our lives are made up of the choices we make and the allegiances we take, but also the things we didn’t do or the choices we didn’t want to take. Each one altering the outcome and the journey together – each choice altering the next choice, or the next hurdle, and so on and so forth.
The stories themselves are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces a number of options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 44 in the early titles, to as few as 8 in later adventures. There is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of good to bad endings, or the reader’s progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.
The idea that our choices effect outcomes is something I really want to convey in this project, as with a lot of what goes on around us it can be more subliminal than people are aware of. It’s that old analogy of “blink and you’ll miss it” with regards to a life well lived for example, but that’s no good to me if I want to create an awareness in people that they needn’t shuffle around with their eyes closed. It’s also whether this is done purposefully or not. That’s not to say that nobody has any idea of anything, but I would feel confident in suggesting that a lot of things tend to go unnoticed or ignored until it’s rather too late. Communicating the aspect of choice in this whole scenario is really important to the project, but I need to pick something that encourages the viewers to make that choice.
With the current political climate (i.e. Brexit, Trump, & Terrorism), it’s easy to pick a polarising subject and get people to fight about which one is the best. That’s easy. Getting people to understand their viewpoints, that their opinions are more nuanced than a binary yes or no. Stay or Leave in Brexit’s case. That’s harder. The way in which the mass media works is that it often capitalises on fear, or populist subjects that usually cause passionate responses. Post a factual article with no buzzwords and people might take notice. Post some sensationalistic and scandalous tale about terrorism, or plotting some MP against her UKIP rival because they were arguing about the EU and all of a sudden people are baying for blood and it’s far, far more interesting. Then they can report on that instead, call out someone for being too Right or too Left, and the cycle goes around and around and around.
How do you get people to pause? How do you get people to notice? Perhaps most importantly, how do you get people to understand the affect that this has on them? It’s cause and effect, but at the moment I can’t figure out in which direction it goes in.
Does the mass media reflect society, or are we a reflection of it? Is it a commentary on us and our lives, or is it a command?
“Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.” – Noam Chomsky.