My sister and I binged the first season of Silicon Valley over 4th of July weekend. I’m a fan, even if Erlich drives me nuts.
Last night I had a dream that Jared (the one who knows what a business plan looks like) was actually an evil mastermind who took over Pied Piper from the inside once they were funded. Maybe not great storytelling, but it was pretty entertaining. Dreams are weird.
What my subconscious did with Silicon Valley is something I do for kicks with friends — armchair revisions of tv or movies. How would you fix that one episode? Or, if they just didn’t tack five endings on… etc… etc…
Now theoretically, outside of our modern era of global media and mass distribution, my revisions could be heard/consumed with as much authority as my voice could lend them. But because I’ll never get to remake Silicon Valley, Jared will never take over the world outside of my subconscious. Not that I really want him to.
But this is something I think about a lot — the definitive power of ‘permanent’ stories. What does it mean that one version of a story is definitive? How does that effect our culture? And what are the virtues of the mediums that don’t create static stories?
Obviously live theater is where it’s easy to see mutable stories. Different people in different costumes bring different interpretations and allow a certain life that something like a film is denied. It’s something I love about the traditional ballets — I’ve seen Swan Lake with a bunch of different endings. But of course, when you start doing film versions of stage shows, the film gets a permanence (and from that permanence authority), denied to live theater.
Hence mixed feelings for the forthcoming version of Macbeth. (Okay, I’m mostly excited, but…)
Inevitably, this is tied to representation. One of the reasons it’s important to see diverse representation in popular culture is that we only get so many definitive versions of stories right now — a couple popular movies, a tv show — overpowering thousands of versions retold to small audiences. If you are an American talking about Cinderella — you’re probably going to think of the new Disney or old Disney versions. Maybe something like Ella Enchanted or Cinder or Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister will come to mind. Imagine the world if this were the definitive version of Cinderella (by Lauren K. Moody — it’s short, go read it), the Disney version so to speak.
It’s a different world.
Anyway. Penny for your thoughts?