Fantasy and life

Justin Marinelli, Staff Writer

With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, people have had their hearts aflutter with thoughts of love and romantic fancy. As per usual, this has distracted them from events of far greater importance. In this case, what is being overlooked is the release of a soon-to-be landmark American film: “50 Shades of Grey,” the riveting and fascinating insight into psychology and sexual desire that will one day be spoken of as a monumental American novel and a cultural examination on par with “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Am I actually being serious right now? I’ll never tell, but I feel that I would be remiss to ignore this matter and instead write up yet another geopolitical analysis. Variety is the spice of life, and things can get so boring if we do not mix them up on occasion.

Some have complained that stories like “Twilight” and “50 Shades of Grey” idealize unhealthy relationships with disturbed individuals as the height of romantic love. Others complain of tumescent prose and anemic narratives. Yet, these stories clearly speak to something in people. They wouldn’t be pop culture phenomena if they did not. Draw your own conclusions.

Fantasy is, at its core, an opiate. It should be used as an enhancement to our reality and not a substitute for it. Any serious usage numbs us to the most sublime pleasures in life; those sensations that are at once fleetingly ephemeral and yet more real to us than anything else, such as the soft touch of a lover or the subtle hints of anise and cloves in a warm cup of good espresso.

Too much fantasy leaves us soft in just the same way that too much ice cream rounds out our edges and in the same way that too much time in warm buildings leaves us unprepared to face the biting winds of a bitter winter. To embrace fantasy while scorning reality is to reject life itself, trading the warmth and vitality of existence for a desperate attempt to win a sense of love and fulfillment from the empty heart of a hollow illusion.

I reject this rejection of strength and vitality. I turn from those who would tear me away from the path that I walk, and denounce those who would seek to bring me to the island of the lotus-eaters. I do not despise my existence and I do not deny that I have the power to carve my own designs on this world of ours, like a sculptor with a block of marble. All I need is the strength to hammer away, no matter what manner of catastrophes arise.

Somewhere along the line, this stopped being about “50 Shades of Grey.” Oops. I guess that’s just life.

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