I’ve been thinking a lot about instructional and cautionary tales.
Basically because of the sometimes-hysterical Christian reactions to Fifty Shades of Grey.
Now I’m a Christian. I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey, and honestly the biggest problem with it is that it was marketed as a romance.
When it should have been marketed as a horror or thriller.
The abusive relationship depicted in it would have sat perfectly safely in the horror or thriller genre.
The issue is that it was presented and for many viewed as an instructional tale.
Twilight has the same issue. Bella Swan is a terrible role model but a great cautionary story.
The real battle lies in our perception.
I mean isn’t it morally reprehensible to go and see;
– That film where a young middle eastern lad lies in order to seduce a young princess under false pretences? (Aladdin)
– The film where a father is so overbearing his son pushes his disciplinary boundaries to the extent that he’s kidnapped? (Finding Nemo)
The problem is when stories that are supposed to be instructional are viewed as cautionary, and vice versa.
In fact, the best stories are a mix of both. Aladdin lies, but discovers lies get him nowhere and wins the girl by being who he truly is, Marlin is overbearing towards his son, but learns to relax and let his son Nemo find his own way.
And eventually in the sequels one would hope Christian Grey learns the error of his abusive ways and confronts his damaged past.
But let’s engage with these stories in a way that opens dialogue.
Let’s see what we can learn about being better people.
From the instructional and the cautionary elements that every story contains.