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Morality and Adaptation

When adapting old stories that included prejudice or other unfair products of its time, to what extent should the adaptation be altered? Should the adaptation include the biases of the original (even if they are critiqued or showed to be flawed), or is it better to remove the biases altogether? On one hand, including the biases may be seen as a confirmation of them. However, it may also be seen as a way to renounce the flaws of the past while still valuing important stories. Avoiding the biases altogether may imply that the biases were not important, but it may also be viewed as a way of ‘updating’ an outdated story. Does the decision to include (or exclude) biases change depending on the original story’s context (e.g. how well known it is today, how old it is, etc.)?

  • Super interesting topic!I think, perhaps unhelpfully, it ends up being a creative choice that ultimately depends on the adapted work and the intentions of the adaptation.Naturally, any adaptation process will involve changes. Some "flaws," as you say, can be "updated" without changing the original context. For example, the language may be updated (though I also acknowledge certain vernacular may be characteristic or plot-driven). The way we are first told a story shapes our impression of it, and an adaptation that changes too much (even if for moral reasons) can be severely disappointing.Moreover, the idea of morality often spirals into issues of censorship—which is another fraught topic because it demands who has the right to decide what can (or cannot) be censored? Furthermore, while I am in favour of honouring the original work and its creator's intentions, I believe that ultimately every adaptation must diverge from the original and become its own iteration. Each adaptation, after all, is an interpretation of the original work. Within this context, "updating" ensures that the work is relatable and may enable it to reach a wider audience.However, I waffle again, with the contention that every work is in and of itself a cultural artifact, and changing them simply for the sake of "updating" risks devaluing cultural values and mores that original creators may have wanted to preserve or speak to.In conclusion, I am obviously torn, but this topic is really thought-provoking and relevant given the number of adaptations that are coming out. Hopefully, I've given some more ideas to consider—happy writing! – carmenxbd 3 weeks ago
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  • An interesting idea for an essay. I am of the mind that any adaptation of an old story is a reflection of the time in which the adaptation is produced rather than the one in which the original material is situated. So, in that sense, it is reasonable to take liberties to update or revise material as necessary to make it relatable and accessible to modern audiences of the day. – John Wilson 3 weeks ago
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How To Approach Dissenting Morality

When we see a moral dilemma presented in creative mediums, we will all generally pick a side. People have their own moral compasses that dictate how they might react to a given situation. With Bethesda’s new title "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus", a controversy of sorts arose with the games marketing campaign for being blatantly "kill Nazi’s". This is a game that is reflective of the tense current day political atmosphere in the United States; one that had some more conservative gamers taking offense to it. To them, it was seen as a blatant political statement by Bethesda in taking sides and being "politically correct". To more liberal gamers, it was pointed out that in American culture, Nazi’s, by the definition of World War II, are the bad guys and they always have been. "We’ve been killing Nazi’s in this series for many years now. Why should it be an issue now?" was a common response.

So the following question came about as a result: How might you, if you could, handle a story if it tells a tale of an individual of a dissenting opinion (perhaps if it takes a political siding), and convince everyone, regardless of personal views, liberal/conservative or otherwise, to still enjoy it just the same? And can this be done effectively and appropriately at all without angering one side or the other.

  • That's a good topic. For me, general morality and specific political identities are different things.I don't know if I would have a lot of success convincing someone to play (and enjoy playing) a game that references a current, real-world political identity in a way that conflicted severely with that other person's own beliefs. Generally, sure, we might be nice people but still enjoy playing bad people in games and might do things in games that we would never do in real life. That's not the same thing as reflecting specific political views.I guess my strategy in that argument would be to talk about what games are and how they work, allowing us to do explore things we don't normally explore in real life. That argument may not get very far, though. Sometimes we don't want to explore something. I know I would have a hard time enjoying playing a character who was a hardcore white supremacist who wanted to get rid of whole groups of people. – JamesBKelley 2 years ago
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