Feel-good vs feel-bad. What’s the deal? Why write stories that make you feel bad, when you can tell tales with happy endings and fulfilled dreams?
To me there is a simple answer. If the world was a happy place where every-one got their just reward, there would be no need for feel-good. The world, however, is not this happy place; though of course it isn’t all bad. This makes feel-good a lie. It might be a necessary lie for some, sometimes, but a lie nonetheless, and art that lies is bad art. To me the purpose of art is to portray the world as it is, not as we would like it to be, or the way the powerful claim it is, or the way our consensus makes us believe it is. This doesn’t exclude beauty from art, for the world is also beautiful, but it doesn’t always end happily. In at least one sense it always ends badly.
Lying art does nothing to increase the understanding of the world and humanity. On a good day it does nothing at all; on a bad day it makes things worse.