Project Brief 3 Blog Post 2
In this blog post I am going to reflect on the feedback given to me after I presented a proposal for my world last Thursday. Michelle, a guest assessor, recommended that I watch the British television crime drama Broadchurch in order to inform my current world. I watched the first episode this morning and noted several commonalities between my world and the world of Broadchurch, notably the parochial nature of the town. From the very beginning of the series the Broadchurch writers go to great stress to communicate the insularities of their world.
Oliver, a young journalist, asks his editor why she still employs a lousy, unreliable photographer, the editor replies “I see him at the supermarket every Saturday, we look after our own here”. The lolly shop owner when asked if he knew the murdered 10 year old said “They brought him in here, 3 days old”. The man doing the autopsy on the child states “We don’t get these around here, make sure you find them”.
Perhaps Broadchurch is like this because (like my world) it is distant from a major city. Michelle thought that the correlation of literal distance and cultural distance in my world was particularly interesting. She noted that it was even more interesting due to the rise of the internet (which has the ability to grant people virtual access to other cultures). This idea has worried me because it presents a contradiction in my world. How can I have a truly insular world when the world has virtual access to mass-culture? I have thought about this and can answer it in two ways. The first is through “being in the world not of the world”: Perhaps the young people of my town who have access to social media dismiss anything not relevant to their town as being insignificant and frivolous. They consider world news as poison. The older people of my town are, by nature, stubborn and set in their old ways. As a consequence, they take a simpler approach, they ignore online media, they refuse to indulge in it.
The second way I discovered through watching Broadchurch. The people of Broadchurch demonstrate a natural scepticism to social media. Just hours after her son had passed away the Mother was disgusted when her daughter received a google alert from the buzzwords “Broadchurch” and “Murder”. Though the implications of social media are daunting for the family, considering it could take away their privacy, at this moment in the story the Mothers outrage was directed at the principal of google alerts as opposed to the un-perceived threat of invaded privacy. This is another demonstration, in the world of fiction, that a physical distance from mass-culture can lead to technological scepticism. Which leads me to think, maybe I don’t need to justify anything? This is how insular cultures operate, through natural scepticism and a conscious ignorance directed at things greater than themselves.
Lastly I will talk about my ‘Fish Out of Water’ protagonist. Lucy (guest assessor #2) as well as my in-class table group thought that a foreign protagonist, one that is at a distance from the world that they have been placed in, is a really effective way for the viewer to be objectively introduced to a world. In Broadchurch the viewer is revealed the world in this manner. Alec (David Tennant) is a man who recently arrived in Broadchurch after a long career in the big city and through his perspective the world of Broadchurch reveals itself.
When I talk about my protagonist to my group they often say ‘How is he going to change the world?’ ‘Is he out there enough to change the world?’ Something I will insist on is that my world cannot be changed, it is an all-consuming world, you’re either a part of it or you’re not. The world is bigger than a solitary individual’s resistance. However, there were two very interesting questions (given to me by my table group) that I will need to explore. ‘Is there something in his history that prevents him from being a part of the culture?’ and secondly ‘Does he tip his toe into the culture and then decide whether he wants to be a part of it or not?’ This last question has the potential to be an interesting point of conflict in my story.