I’m watching “Reservation Dogs” on Hulu about a group of native teenagers who grew up in “rez”, Oklahoma. These kids are so vulnerable, funny and cool, I wish I belonged to a gang of friends like this when I was growing up.
Here’s the problem. These kids are gangsters. They are bad boys fighting turf wars with more formidable gangs.
In the first episode, they steal a delivery truck and sell it to the Junkyard Chop Shop. They know enough to negotiate keeping spicy snacks in their trucks in hopes of raising enough money to leave this dead end place and go to California. As if everything would magically get better.
This series is great for empathizing with life on an Indigenous reservation. But watching this, or reading a book about life in rez, I can’t help but become romantic.
Everyone knows someone else and half the town is your cousin. If you have problems with enemies, love sickness, etc., there are people who know the old ways and can provide medicine for them. Women are strong and fearless.
Law enforcement officers will treat you with compassion, know your family history and give you a chance. they know your mother Heck, your mom could be their cousin or even an old girlfriend.
At least that’s how it unfolds in fiction. So I fantasize about living with a lesbian and getting along with these very cool kids.
My first attempt at empathizing with criminals was when I saw “The Godfather.” The mafia world has its own rules, and there are too many of them, like “Don’t go against your family.” If someone in your gang, or “family” is killed, someone in that gang has to pay. And on the day of his daughter’s wedding, he can ask Don Corleone for a favor, but it may have a string attached to it.
Reading “Good Fellows”, “The Sopranos”, “Casino”, and “Boardwalk Empire” deepened my familiarity with the Mafia. The time has finally come when you no longer want to enter that violent world.
Still, my sympathy for violent characters continues in the vampire realm.
Reading Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles was hard. The vampire world also has certain rules, but Rice changed many of them from the ground up.
When I talked to my mother about “Vampire Lestat” many years ago, the vampire who “created” Lestat waited until his hair was very long before turning him into a vampire, so he made him a prisoner. (Funny enough, you are also considered a ‘made’ man if you fully join the mafia when you are). He enthusiastically tells his mother that vampires can cut off his hair, and when he wakes up from daytime sleep, his hair and all of his body are restored to their original state.
My mother’s response was, “It’s just a book. It’s not real.”
But when I step into these fictional worlds, there’s a familiarity, a kind of reality.
Of course, I had no sympathy for the vampires in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” But Rice and other writers made these vampires more appealing. Helps empathize. It’s the vampire equivalent of vegetarianism. Her book also included a fictionalized version of the Kilute tribe of the Pacific Northwest with werewolf tendencies. I want to run with hot-blooded wolves.
The “True Blood” television series included telepaths, werewolves and vampires struggling for equal rights and assimilation. Why weren’t you able to board the ship?
I’m currently following a vampire story that’s more comedic than dangerous. Television produced by Taika Waititi In his series What We Do In the Shadows, energy vampires are introduced. That’s terrifying!
I remember being a kid who didn’t want the story of Andrew Lang’s “Pink Fairy Book” to end. I cried when the inevitable ended. It was the first time I had a yearning for a fictional place.
But is there anything strange about adult women having these fantasies? Traveling in armchairs is acceptable, but this comes close to cultural appropriation in armchairs.
It’s not that I don’t have friends and loving family of my own. my life is good But adventures in these alternate worlds are very attractive.
My empathy for these vicious characters is part of who I am. Bundled with my beliefs against the death penalty. That’s why I support the underdog and am open to inclusivity.
These fictional adventures hone my sense of the magic that unfolds in this everyday world we call reality.
Diana Abreu is a page designer at LNP. Lancaster Online.”Unscripted” is a weekly entertainment column produced by her team of rotating writers.