Let Me Give You Some Advice

Have you ever noticed that, in fiction or in movies, a character giving advice usually isn't listened to? If some weird dude says, "Don't go down that road and turn left into that foggy field or else a demon will rip your eyes out," then of course the other character laughs off this advice (or warning--I guess a warning is just advice with an implied threat of calamity weighing it down) and goes down the road anyway, or in spite of the advice, and gets their damn eyes ripped out. You could actually say that advice in a fictional realm is almost like a backhanded kind of prodding, a way of showing the main character's chutzpa, and the closer to a rouge cop the character is, the more likely they'll really not listen to advice. And usually it's pretty good advice, in the main character's best interest. It's the sort of advice that if you didn't listen to, in real life, you'd probably would be fucked right quick (and there'd be no wacky vindication down the road, either).

Sometimes, to combat this, writers will have the main character listen to the advice and act on the advice, but this is almost always because the advice comes from a ROGUE AGENT. I personally dislike backstabbing characters as a narrative device, not only because they disagree with my sense of fair play in the war of Good versus Evil but because they seem to be a rather easy narrative device. For example, that one traitor dude at the end of the second Matrix movie. WTF?!? Also, as soon as I realized that the new Battlestar Galactica series would turn on the screw of "Who can you trust? Cylons are everywhere!" I just stopped watching. Because fuck it. I don't feel like playing guess who for fifty hours.

Your thoughts on advice? Do you listen to it or ignore it? I, of course, ignore any advice that is good for me, because I invariably do everything the hard way, and I'm practically fictional in my own right.


Caleb said...

Ah, but in the literary world, advice is like fine wine - only to be appreciated in due time, and usually after someone has died.

David Oppegaard said...

That's a good point.

Alexandra Jones said...

Don't take advice

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