The Problem With “Woke” Fiction

G.S. Muse
For the New Christian Intellectual
5 min readApr 13, 2023

Fiction may not be true, but it should be truthful. The stories that resonate with us the most are those that reflect reality. When a story is dishonest, the human mind rejects it.

This is the problem with “woke” fiction. Much has already been said about the shallowness and Mary Sue aspect of Amazon’s Rings of Power. The bitter female protagonist who identifies as Galadriel constantly shows up her incompetent male counterparts in battle and in being the only one who can see the obvious evidence that Eminem’s half-brother Sauron has returned. (No one cares.)

The entire thing was completely unrealistic. When the wannabe-Galadriel jumped off of a boat to swim back to Middle Earth across an ocean, I could not help but wonder why she didn’t just fly. She took out a troll that was like five times her size, so why not?

Even in a world of elves and magic, human nature still has to be presented honestly. An obvious narcissistic fantasy will be seen for what it is.

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Compare this to strong female protagonists in other franchises. Xena: Warrior Princess may seem silly by today’s standards, but even with the feminist overtones, it was a show that mainstream America very much enjoyed. Some other franchises with strong female leads include Alien, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Star Trek Voyager, and The Hunger Games. Not to mention Hermione in Harry Potter, along with a number of other strong characters of both genders. There is also a franchise called Lord of The Rings which featured a number of strong and likable female characters, one of whom was a high-ranking Elf lady who happened to also be named Galadriel.

My point here is not to convince anyone that Rings of Power is bad. Everyone already knows. The point here is to ask what is going wrong in case after case of “woke” fiction.

In addition to the unreality and dishonesty, Woke fiction tends to preach at its audience while pretending to tell a story.

Compare this to Star Trek: The Original Series. The show’s creator Gene Roddenberry knew how to tell stories that were fictional, yet truthful. He helped people to see a bright future for humanity while echoing the very real struggles of his own era.

Contrast this to a scene in Star Trek: Picard in which the characters time-travel to the 21st Century, and go on a rant about environmentalism and the evils of fossil fuels. While characters in this situation may comment in passing on smog and grunge, this is not meant to be an after-school special. The characters would not talk like this. It’s obvious, jarring, and talks down to the audience as if they were children.

It is also extremely ignorant in that it fails to recognize the reasons people use fossil fuels in the first place.

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Ayn Rand pointed out that fiction should reflect reality. It should represent something, contrary to those who warn against having any kind of message whatsoever. If those green Martians invading the Earth do not represent a real fear that people have on some level, then the story can only go so far.

So why now? Why did progressive fiction of the past, such as 2009’s Avatar, various aspects of Star Trek, X-Men, and multitudes of others do so well? (And in contrast, “Christian” movies have historically been terrible.)

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Whatever their faults, films such as Avatar convey themes that resonate with people. Avatar’s plot and message was obviously shallow, and its reflection of history and reality was oversimplified (military bad, white man bad, fossil fuels bad, imperial genocide bad, nature good, forest people good, etc.)

But despite the cliches, the themes still resonated. Injustice and genocide are actually evil. As humans, we desire to preserve nature and connect to an objectively-real form of spirituality (such as what we see in the forest neural network). So even with all of its flaws, Avatar still tells a moving story, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

The Lord of The Rings is a masterpiece that resonates with generations, but Harry Potter and even Twilight have their impact. People see themselves and the people they love in The Hunger Games. Star Trek resonates, not in spite of, but because of, its ability to address real-world issues while casting them into distant parts of the galaxy, far into the future. None of us has ever fought a lizard man; but people can relate to the idea of having an enemy who is different from you.

“Woke” fiction is shallow and narcissistic, and no one cares. Casting a trans-abled lesbian with blue hair in a wheelchair as G.I. Joe is not going to make up for bad writing. And calling people “phobic” is not going to make them want to spend their hard-earned money on an unmoving story.

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G.S. Muse
For the New Christian Intellectual

G.S. Muse, also known as GreenSlugg on YouTube or simply as “Greg” is a lab technician, youtuber, author, and blogger. His work can be found at GSMuse.com