Adaptation Is Not An Excuse: Defending the Criticism of Fiction

Part 2 of 3. Content notice for racial slurs.

The criticism of the idea that you can criticize fictional works tends to run along one or more of three veins, from most to least flimsy:

  1. It’s just fiction and exists merely to entertain. There is no need to take it so seriously.
  2. The adaptation of this fiction cannot be blamed for elements that are true to its source material.
  3. It’s fiction and is not meant to be a political statement / politically correct.

The second isn’t as flimsy as the first, but still doesn’t manage to delegimitize the practice of the criticism of fiction. The best recent example with which I have some familiarity comes from the new Constantine TV show. I found the second episode’s treatment of the Rroma/Romani/Rrom/Sinti peoples to be very much in line with the horrific oppression with which they are treated by society. Alex, as someone of Romany descent, has something to say about that. I will turn my focus to episode three, which addresses so-called “voodoo.” In the case of “voodoo”, as with “gypsies”, so far, I’ve found that Constantine punches down in a way that cannot be explained away via loyalty to the source material.

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Adaptation Is Not An Excuse: Defending the Criticism of Fiction
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