I like to think I’m a reasonably environmentally aware sort of person. I always try to do whatever I can to look after the world. I make sure to switch lights off, and I don’t use heating or cooling unless I really need it. I minimise car journeys and try to walk whenever I can.
And I always make sure to recycle.
Recycling is great. It means that things don’t go to waste. Every week, one of my goals is to minimise the amount of waste that goes into landfill. Whether paper, glass, plastic or metal, if it can be used again I always make sure it will be used again.
I even recycle my food. After all, food is too good to waste. Whatever is left over after a meal can always be used for another meal. It’s amazing how often things can even taste better when they’re re-heated the next day.
Which brings me to the main theme of this post. Like I say, recycling is a wonderful thing and I’m all for it. But I’m starting to think that there’s one area where recycling might just have gone a little too far.
I’m talking about the recycling of stories and ideas.
Everywhere I look, I can’t help seeing them. The same old ideas recycled again and again.
Like those boring old superheroes. Sure I once had a soft spot for the man of steel and the caped crusader and that spidery guy. But they’ve been recycled so many times, I really am now heartily sick of them.
And it’s not just superheroes. Seems like every sort of character from literature or the movies is just being reeled out again and again. Origin stories seem like a common thing. A few years ago, there was one for Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Now I see the Cruella de Ville one has just come out, and I hear a Willy Wonka one is in the works. It all seems so utterly unnecessary. Can’t these characters just live as they are, posing their own questions for readers and viewers? Why does everything need to be explained? And most importantly, why do these characters need to be constantly recycled, again and again?
Recently I posted my concerns that current marketing trends are training readers to want little more from their stories than tired old genre tropes. This seems to me to be even worse. It’s like we’re training readers to only want the same stories and the same characters they’re already familiar with. What hope for the writer trying to come up with something original and new?
So in a nutshell, recycling is a great way to look after the environment. But lets cut back on the recycling when it comes to stories and ideas.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as