How To Be Good at Chick-Lit

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Our last posts

And to add to our long list of final thoughts, I personally think that there has been a dramatic change in philosophy in the book industry and popular culture for that matter. Think about this: if we look at Rob Roy and Elizabeth Bennett who is an older version of Bridget Jones, what do we see? We tend to see heroes and heroines: characters that function as role models. Rob Roy functions as the strong and brave manly man; the very resemblance of masculinity. There isn't a tint of feminine qualities in him. Let's face it: there is no way that anyone can call him a fop or a dandy.
Elizabeth Bennett was all about propriety and she resembles everything that is proper in a Victorian lady in her given situation. She has confidence, brains and looks all at once. Pride and Prejudice upholds decorum in every way. For some people, Rob Roy and Elizabeth are larger than life figures; characters that some people would look up to. It's not unusual for us to admire those heroes and heroines, and some might even aspire to be more like them.

But as the 20th century progresses, we see less and less of this phenomenon. Until eventually media focuses on the other end: we have books and movies and TV shows with characters that are designed to be recognized by normal people. Bridget and John Self are drunk all the time and yet they are very much like us. They're pretty common in that they lack confidence and are clueless most of the time. Aren't most of us like that? Never mind the gender issue for a moment. Don't most of us read like John Self does? (as it was pointed out in lecture) And is this why so many of us identity with modern day protagonists? In the end, what we have is a shift to a more selfish end of the spectrum: people don't look for examples of what they should be. They don't care about performing to be the best they can be. Instead, they slack off and look for examples of themselves in pop media.

Why? I'm not sure. Could it be a form of degeneration? Another flaw in Darwinism? Maybe this is a question for Dr. Ogden's next experimental course.


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