Mourning the Loss of Escapism

del rey

Photo of Lester Del Rey

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What disturbs me more is the whole concept of purpose as applied to any literature. To the Marxists, intent upon subordinating everything to the good of the state, the arts must serve a direct purpose of life — usually propaganda, I’m afraid. But why people in this country accept such Marxist ideas is a puzzle.

Lester Del Rey as quoted from The World of Science Fiction, 1926-1976: The History of a Subculture

I suppose it’s a mild coincidence that I’m quoting Del Rey on his birthday. These words from his tome, which I reviewed HERE and HERE, are predictive of the world of science fiction (and entertainment in general) we experience today.

Del Rey saw SciFi as a lot of things, including instructive, but most of all, he believed it should be fun.

But where has the fun gone?

And while Lenin read a book of Marx
The Quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die”
This will be the day that I die

Don McLean from “American Pie” 1971

Just substitute “escapism” or “fun” for the word “music” above, and it fits. There’s a lot inspiring this missive, including this recent one.

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