By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine
We're always being warned not to expect happy endings to the ecological, economic and political crises that beset the world, and yet when times are grim, these upbeat conclusions abound in the stories we seek out.
Two years ago, a group called the Happy Endings Foundation momentarily came to prominence.
They were demanding that authors of children's books come up with happier endings and even suggested that works with less sunny conclusions should be burnt on "bad book bonfires" held around the UK.
Soon, however, bloggers had investigated the foundation and revealed it was a marketing hoax - the like of which abound on April Fools Day, although this was in October. But by that time the BBC and several national and local newspapers had carried the story.
The point is that this kind of campaign doesn't seem that ridiculous. In troubled times there are plenty of people who want happy endings - a matter perhaps recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, last week, when he cautioned God will not intervene in climate change to supply a happy ending.[!]
I don't know about you but I find HAPPY ENDINGS boring! My students in my classes always complain that I pick novels that don't end on a happy note but leave the ending open or questionable. How do you feel about Happy Endings? In books and films?