Let’s talk about allegories, shall we?

Their appeal is obvious: refracting our world through a fictionalized creation to juxtapose the two, a lens of differentiated perspective that facilitates new insights on the known.

Historically, allegories were employed out of necessity: artists brave enough to comment critically on sociopolitics often ended up on the chopping block, sometimes quite literally; allegories gave them cover from the authorities. Nowadays, allegories mask real-world criticisms for audiences who might be alienated by more explicit reckonings with contentious issues.

An allegory exists in a tricky liminal space: is the allegorical world interesting on its own terms, or is its value inextricably linked to what it’s allegorizing, to what it’s meant to represent?

If the latter, what stops the audience from wishing that the writers had tackled directly whatever they hoped to address? It hinders engagement if an allegory intrigues ONLY in relation to what’s being allegorized; an allegorical world not being sufficiently compelling in itself seems like a problem.

Anyways, keep this threshold in mind when watching the likes of Don’t Look Up, sandblasted, and On Sugarland, the three of which inspired these thoughts.

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