Literature: "Men in Books" and the limitation of fictional representation
1. Excerpt from Men in Books (Salon): "What do we desire from our American literary male protagonists these days? ... it’s more what the protagonists — and their authors — want from us that stands out. They are looking for approval, especially from women, [Eleanor] Blair thinks. She identifies a youngish generation of writers, including Sam Lipsyte and Gary Shteyngart, who tend to proffer schlumpy guy characters rejected by women, failing in their monotonous jobs and obsessively insecure in their masculinity...." [Read full article here]
2. Similar to the topic above is the limitation of fictional representation. I've been thinking about it lately so I'll post the rough thoughts here.
What do writers and movie directors really know about the intelligence of the average scientist or professor? The best authors are the best empathizers, but this doesn't change the fact that every word spoken on screen or in a book by a doctor is originating in a writer's mind. What do the audience members who are not part of these groups then know of these groups besides what they see written and directed? How many representations of people in movies and books pander to our flawed conception of the character to make it believable to us? How much does the portrayal of fictitious characters define roles and impact how real world people act?
If suddenly all portrayals of truck drivers in books, media, and news interviews portray them as book worm intellectuals, would real-world truck drivers change? If Harley Davidson decided to drastically change the image of the "Harley Man" could they get the masses of bikers to follow?