This is not a fun entry and might be disturbing to some. Really.
I've pondered writing this for a while. We all have topics which are closer to us than most, and sometimes we rant, sometimes we preach, sometimes we admonish. I don't want to do any of those things. I don't want to sermon, I don't want to patronize, or condescend, I'd just like to talk. If that's all right with you.
Today, I stumbled across a story where one of the main protagonists was brutally tortured. Nothing new there. Torture could be a subgenre of fanfic in its own right, perhaps somewhere in the vicinity of the hurt/comfort genealogical tree.
I write it. Check next post. Way, way over half of the authors I know have written it at one point or another, for their own reasons. Varied, varied reasons, I imagine. Plot device, psychological exploration, whatever. I have reasons of my own.
Today, I stumbled across a story where one of the main protagonists was brutally tortured -- and remained glib through the whole process, snarking all the way, escaping to shack up with his significant other, living happily ever after. No harm done. This bothers me. Always does. Just like many are bothered by portrayals of rape which do not do justice to the horrifying nature of the act -- as just another example of a personal issue some might have with fiction. When I read such a story, I don't press delete, I don't start raving, I don't throw a tantrum, I just... take notice. Sometimes, I get a little sad. It's my personal issue.
And I wonder. Authors can take so much care in crafting the emotional landscape of their characters in a realistic manner; why should the depiction of torture and its aftermath be so often... not. Realistic. Is it that they just don't care? Is it that that they cannot wrap their mind around what it means? Is it that they cannot imagine it? Cannot understand? Possibly. Torture is not something that is intended to make sense. Quite the contrary.