Thursday, September 24, 2009

On Folklorealism (Or rather on trying to infuse folklore with realism)

On Folklorealism (Or rather on trying to infuse folklore with realism)

Before I introduce this kind of idea, this concept-idea is simply a concoction of two different ideas colliding. The former focused much on fiction while the latter focused more into reality. And I even think that these ideas, despite having differences, may also in need or likely to be infused for it inspires people to give effort in the struggles made through.

Here are the two literary ideas that are both colliding and at the same time capable of uniting:

1. Folklore

Folklore, at first may consider it as a product of total imagination, especially that it was and is more focused into mythologies and legends-especially out of the storyteller's voice, and of the quill of the writer.

However, Folklore does not mean total imagination to inspire people, the word "folk" from folklore means "people", and thus it reminds of custom and tradition, as part of their identity as a nation. Folklorists, especially Writers, artists and other practitioners of the arts used the ideas laid by the people as an inspiration to give hope, and with total emotion, gives agitation.

According to Wikipedia,
The concept of folklore developed as part of the 19th century ideology of romantic nationalism, leading to the reshaping of oral traditions to serve modern ideological goals; only in the 20th century did ethnographers begin to attempt to record folklore without overt political goals.

Writers at that time are imbued with romanticism and of nationalism in pursuit of giving hope to the people, especially the oppressed nations; The Grimm brothers is one of the examples of folklorists who gives idea to the German cause through culture. And thus, the real idea of folklore fives the "authenticity" of the people and its struggle to its finest, only to be changed and end up as a plain common part of literature, especially for children like Grimm's fairy tales.

2. Realism

Realism, especially in the realms of visual and written arts, usually depicts man and its everyday life as part of its society without embellishment or interpretation.

Man, especially its life is always interpreted by other people; its acts, its ideas, its surroundings are interpreted by the people and thus recorded by the use of arts. I even think that realism, and its idea, tries to look real truth from false facts found amongst the surroundings man used to.

And according to the same source in which I got the idea of folklore, Realists positioned themselves against romanticism, a genre dominating French literature and artwork in the late 18th and early 19th century. Undistorted by personal bias, Realism believed in the ideology of objective reality and revolted against exaggerated emotionalism. Truth and accuracy became the goals of many Realists.

Upon reading it, I even think that realism, and its idea of truth and accuracy really collides with the ideas vested from man-especially imagination and of tradition. The folklorist may have its magical voice and emotion to speak but the realist? Of course, his camera or its eyes looking for the actions of the society for it shows complete and total realities made by man. Both of these have the same idea, but contrast in its interpretation and of its action being laid by these two colliding ideas.

Both ideas are really collide each other; as the former seemed too imbued with the essences laid by man through the mind while the latter are imbued with existence based on its senses given, I even think that it can be difficult to integrate both to make an idea. Once I wanted to do so and I even called it as "Folklorealism".

Folklorealism is imbued the mysterious ideas of the "folk" as well as the realities being made by the "folk". "Folk", being referred to the people, was and is involved in its surroundings positively and negatively. I even think that this idea correlates man as an individual and man as part of the society, particularly its culture belongs to.

Secondly, there are persons who had tried much to think of folk-izing realism as a means to show closure to the people in a society and/or as a part to express their ideas and interpretations through the pen (from poetry to children's stories and other literary work). But at first, these persons, coming from "Left" and "Right" are more of a descriptive, and it does not directly reflect their ideas that may cause trouble. Again, this writeup is about their literary or Ideas based both on folklore and realism.

Here are the people to be given an example out of their work, they may consider controversial as others say so, and I am aware of it.

Mao Zedong, despite being a leader of a vast country, and imbued with Marxist-Leninist ideology, was also imbued with peasant tradition and culture that he even adapted it. And his ideas focused more into the peasantry as the main force of the working class since the innovator of the thought and his actions he made are not just out of his studies in Marxism-Leninism and the situation in China, but of the revolts made by the Chinese peasantry back many years before his time, from the "Yellow turbans", "Panthay", "Taiping" and even the "Boxer Rebellion" where these people, mostly peasants, are trying to voice out realities with a twist coming from their peasant-like beliefs. Mao perhaps also created folklore out of his exploits too during the battles against both Guomindang and the Japanese forces in China, from the Long March to the Battle wherein the Red Army tried to cross a bridge out of chains and steel cables, and even the interpretation of the "Foolish Old Man who Move the Mountains" as well as of Sun Wukong and his staff who smashed heaven (as he may say).

Pol Pot. like Mao Zedong, also wanted his own socialist society which carries a peasant backed society and culture; and despite having a bourgeois background, studying in Paris France and belonging to a slightly well-to-do family, Pol Pot's idea, aside from Marxism-Leninism, was also inspired by the great Angkor Empire that was a peasant-artisan backed society, where rice, water, and stone are correlated and beneficial to their progress back then. Pol Pot may have no writeups like Poems, Essays or any quotations like Mao had done to mirror how he used the idea of the folk as a basis for reality and of tomorrow.

These two socialist leaders, despite having imbued with the ideas of Marx and Lenin, are also inspired by the past and of the actions of the present all in pursuit of the future which is the fulfillment of what history is supposed to. And despite their mistakes, of famine, purges and other errors that end up getting apologized (or being hated by others), they may have tried hard to reclaim a prosperous past by using the present and leaning towards the future.

Another example, perhaps on the "Right", may be the late David Lane.

David Lane was known for being a "White Nationalist." And his ideas somehow may contradict the first two that I have said. In fact, he, known as "Wodensson" and famous for his Norse Spirituality and of his racial views, also tends to join folklore and realism. How? His works somehow shows how folklore mirror realism in a racialist (or racist) view. He may be inspired from reading Norse spirituality, of Nature worship and praising Wotan as his god while at the same time of resisting against the American state due to his views. His work, "KD rebel" for example, may have been influenced from both the exploits of the Norsemen, of its faith, to opposition against gun control, of advocating racial separatism, and of destroying the system through a "racial holy war."

I may have read David Lane's work, somehow it was more of Folk-izing, of making a modern-day mythology based on a concoction of real issue and of folklore. Of opposition against multiculturalism while praising Wotan, and opposing gun control. I, upon analyzing his work may consider that he tried much in infusing Viking life and of Modern day living; and of the Wotansvolk to the struggle. Trying to create perhaps a folk-realist type of concept.

Another example would be Andrew MacDonald.
That person, being a leader of a far-right wing group, was also known for writings whom the right wingers tend to indulge. And he may have also tried much in creating a picture, especially in his work entitled "The Turner Diaries." More of an anti-gun control then a "racial hatred" type of book, his work also shows more of releasing his anger towards a society and through the use of "Racial Holy War" whom he advocated, tends to show a concept too. I may consider that "gospel of the far right" trying to create a mythology and of a folklore-like realism for the right-wingers in the west; same as what David Lane hath wanted.

The story of Dong Cunrui, 1975

In my idea, these people, both Left and Right tend to create a picture out of their idea-concept and of the society, especially the dreams and aspirations of the people, and their experiences. Out of every word being said, of books being read and even the surroundings being seen all of their lives. Somehow these people may have tried to use the pen in order to vent their ideas, their anger, and even their imagination as part of mirroring the reality, the Grimm Brothers have tried so about it, for through their fairy tales written also shows the people and their experiences during the Napoleonic era, whom they are against with.

In case of the Philippines, Francisco Balagtas Baltazar, through his "Florante y Laura" shows patriotism and of mirroring the realities of his time through a classical approach like using a Balkan setting; Jose Rizal, whose literary writeups like "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" sow a need for a revolution although he opposed into it, unlike Andres Bonifacio who really interpret Rizal's work a la Timothy McVeigh whose actions were inspired by the late Andrew MacDonald and his book!

Somehow, anything real becomes a folklore to the minds of the people. How come a real battlefield becomes a fairy-tale type of story for children like Chanson de Roland or Rolando Furioso? Or the voluntary contributions of Lei Feng, Dong Cunrui, and Huang Jiguang that became "folk heroes" during the Cultural Revolution in China? Perhaps I may include Budenny and his Red Army Cavalry too! Since people who sought their contributions in the struggle whether it is war or not became a part of a literature of the folk. Or even creating literary heroes based on their exploits, of creating stories inspired by them; indeed- this is folklorealism!

In fact,
I tend to create some stories inspired by both myth and reality, and both the ideas of the folk and the surroundings that are real in the eyes of man. People may call it a "trying hard child's fairy tale" or a carbon copy of a story being made before me; but still I am trying to do so since not all folklores and realisms are about fairy tales or mind giggling events, but of course these are coming from a sentiments of man, of trying to mirror lives and inspiring themselves to create an era what they may call "peaceful, just, equal and prosperous."