Saturday, August 20, 2011

Suspicion of Disbelief

Frequently, I’ll be reading a book, watching TV or a movie, and see ways the story could be improved and elevated. Usually good stories, except for a few flaws.
I notice narrative or logical mistakes that could easily be prevented if only the creators had bothered to consult me. These discrepancies dislodge or throw me out of the story. I am compelled to re-imagine or rewrite scenes and dialogue in my head, making the appropriate corrections. Making the story right.
Maybe that sounds arrogant & presumptuous. Or maybe, instead, it actually sounds like I Know things about storytelling.
I get annoyed because I was not consulted; and because of their neglect, the story suffers needlessly.
And by extension, the audience suffers.
Dude, I’m right here! My fee is not unreasonable.
There are also many times during a story when I find moments of authenticity fail; things that strain or defy credibility or lack a sense of realism or believability. And in those moments, I say “I don’t believe you.”
I also often say this during most contemporary commercials, which are clearly out of touch with majority reality in America. For example, T-Mobile obnoxiously presents a skewed view in the implication of the exaggerated importance and commonality of 4G… with their iPhones and iPads and Tablets.
An assumption is projected and proliferated that the common standard is that the majority actually does live online and through their digital devices, when the truth is that a relatively small portion of the population lives this way. Most people do not.
And egregious car commercials, who blithely talk about so called deals like several thousand dollars is nothing… as if most people can afford a new car, when the reality is few of us have enough money for even a used one. A new car for only $20,000? Really? Is that all?
These kinds of commercials are trying to impose or synthesize a false reality onto us, by acting as if the lifestyle they depict is much more common than it really is. They try to convince us of-- and into—an illusory lifestyle, as if saying it is real makes it so.

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