I'm sure I've mentioned this previously, but Alan Alda is my hero. His character, the great Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce was my introduction into complex characters and storylines, changing my path as a storyteller forever. This was solidified when I read "Little Women" by Lousia May Alcott, especially the chapter where Jo goes off to New York and nearly makes a disgrace of herself.
Yesterday, Mr. Alda made an appearance on the ABC's National Press Club of Australia. He spoke about how "Science Belongs to All of Us", and the speech he made touched me deeply. He's also going to be at QPAC tonight and tomorrow with his play "Dear Albert", based on the letters written by Albert Einstein, humanising this intellectual great of our history. I never thought I'd ever get the chance to even be in the same room as Alan Alda, so as you can imagine I'm very excited. However, meeting my hero isn't the only reason I'm excited.
Mr. Alda described Science and Art as "two long-lost lovers" who have drifted apart, and lamented on how Science has become almost completely inaccessable to the average person. He spoke about how scientists have to learn how to present their ideas and research in such a way as while not dumbing them down, they're more appetizing to the general public. He also spoke of the medias responsibility to "open the door" to these ideas and concepts. This got me thinking, back to my blog on not writing trash and how Mr. Alda has inspired me to think big.
I loved the Deadpool movie. It was very funny and entertaining. Alas, there wasn't much depth to it, which is something I'm noticing is becoming more and more prevailent in storytelling nowadays. Storytelling, in fact, any sort of art, isn't just an expression of emotion or entertainment. It's also meant to be a way to convey ideas and open minds to new ways of thinking, spawning even more new ideas and ways of thinking. I again fall back on the example of "Harry Potter", where J. K. Rowling has created a world so big, so splendid, that your mind can't resist opening up and being open to so many possibilities. A lot of Japanese anime does this well too, like "Psycho Pass" (a chill just went down my spine), "Naruto" and even, funnily enough, "Ouran High School Host Club". I know a lot of jaws just dropped when I mentioned OHSHC but think about it - it really does make you think about the space between the wealthy and the poorer classes.
I think, as artists, we have a responsibility not just to entertain, but to be the ones to help open the door to different ways of thinking, to opening up minds to not only accept different ideas, but to create them as well. When minds are already open and creating, it's much easier to direct those minds towards things like Science, where open minds and different ways of thinking are not only welcomed, but critical to the continued improvement and learning of our species.