I was inspired to paint after seeing the new mount option in Guild Wars 2! It’s a “roadrunner mount,” but I was very excited because it reminded me of a mount idea I had a while back:
This mount idea is based off a greater prairie chicken, which is one of my favorite chickens! They are beautiful creatures.
I tried to recreate my mount idea in-game using the dye system, and though I did not really succeed, I am happy with my turkey mount, haha:
This screenshot is heavily edited, as I’m currently on a laptop with integrated graphics. GW2 runs surprisingly well on it, but I wasn’t able to find an area that lit the character models well enough for us to see them. I’ll post the original screenshot below!
Anyway, here is what I ended up sketching!
It’s a bit of a chimeric melding of my greater prairie chicken mount idea, the GW2 roadrunner skin, and the greater prairie chicken itself. The painting manages to look nothing like either my sketch or the in-game mount, haha, but it was really fun to paint tonight.
And now for the thoughts about cynicism in today’s media entertainment!
Thoughts about cynicism in today’s modern shows
While painting the above tonight, my mind started to idly wander about general thoughts regarding media entertainment. We finished the season finale of The Boys earlier tonight, and I’m sure this what prompted tonight’s meandering thoughts.
The primary thought is this: I can’t get into shows that revel in celebrating the worst in humanity.
There is a certain cynicism that pervades many of today’s popular entertainment media. I suspect this is why many modern shows haven’t clicked with me. The ones I do enjoy seem to be fighting for a widespread audience (Cobra Kai being a welcome exception). My two other recent favorites, Person of Interest and Dark Matter, were both cancelled after only 3 or 4 seasons! (“Recent” by modern standards – both are several years old now.)
Let’s take Cobra Kai as an example. Cobra Kai introduces itself in a very deliberate way. In our current media climate of “dark and gritty, humanity is irredeemably evil,” you think it will go in a predictable way.
The show shatters this expectation. (At least, it did for me.) Instead of taking the predictable route of a villainous, irredeemable main character – as he is introduced – the show invites us to ponder the idea of bettering ourselves. And in doing so – at least this is my interpretation – possibly even bettering the world.
It allows us to contemplate this in a way media like Westworld, Game of Thrones, Black Mirror, The Boys, or The Witcher feel like they want to choke out this desire in its audience. They arguably disavow the notion of any good in humanity. They also seem to disavow the idea that people might be redeemable, and might become better versions of their past selves.
These shows appear to desire bludgeoning their audience under the premise that humanity has little to no positive qualities, and that humans are overwhelmingly, irredeemably flawed creatures.
Humans are unquestionably flawed – it is those flaws that probably inspire the majority of our literary history (at least the most interesting works!). Our flaws – and our striving to conquer them – seem to be a central part of what it means to be human.
Possibly I’m an overly optimistic Star Trek fan, but as long as we aren’t naive about or excuse these flaws, I don’t see negatives to aspiring to be our best selves.