1. Autumn Grayson says:

    Stories can definitely influence society for both good and bad. But over emphasizing that actually fuels a lot of aspects of cancel culture. People in that group saw many instances where media influenced culture both positively and negatively. From there they try to ensure media does everything right and nothing wrong. Many of the more intense cancelers feel like it’s an emergency or at least a step backward whenever something slips by them, because they are afraid of the influence that something can have.

    What people need to realize is that, although stories certainly can influence behavior, teaching people how to act isn’t fiction’s only job. In fact, it often shouldn’t be a DIRECT influence on our behavior. If we constantly search for characters that look ‘good’ so we can copy their behavior, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Just because a character seems good doesn’t mean they always make the right decisions, even within their story world. But even if the character did everything right, actually copying his behavior and translating it to real life might be difficult. Just because we think we’re emulating something doesn’t mean we’re doing a good job of it. And real life requires discretion. Behaviors that work in one situation often won’t work in another.

    Stories are really there for a lot of things. At their core, they present a situation for our consideration. Maybe that situation illustrates aspects of human nature, or shows a moral quandary. Then we’re supposed to feel entertained while we think through it. Why did the characters make those choices? What would I have done in their shoes? What could they have done to make the situation better? How could I have solved that same problem? What if they… Etc.

    Those stories can still help us learn and become better people even when they don’t contain notable heroes. Watching characters interact helps us understand ourselves and other people better. So from that standpoint…I’m all for learning positive lessons from stories, but it can be a little dangerous(or at least less effective) to assume that a story’s intrinsic purpose is to present role models.

    Stories can be so much more; like cautionary tales, or simply interesting word pictures that give us ideas to chew on. When we don’t realize that, a lot of communication breaks down and causes people to attack each other. Mainly because nearly every story, character, or person can be accused of having an immoral idea or affect. That’s going to be very threatening to anyone that holds too closely to the idea that characters should be role models.

  2. notleia says:

    Well, there’s this lady who was treating some anti-BLM protester who’d gotten shot, but got pushed away by cops. The dude ended up dying, and she seems to have medic’s guilt about not being able to save him. She seems like a good person.

  3. Seems like there aren’t a lot of character arcs anymore either. Not believable ones.
    Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment.
    And the CBA literature I recall was at least as bad as the secular in this respect. (Think 80’s, 90’s, 00’s.)

  4. notleia says:

    Oh, oh, Mumen Rider from One Punch Man. You think he’s just a joke on Kamen Rider, with a bicycle instead of a motorcycle, but he’s actually a mensch who tries to keep up with hardcore villains on top of maintaining his status as #1 C-class hero by keeping weekly quotas for small-time stuff.
    Mumen Rider is best hero, and that’s even though he’s not particularly funny in a spoof superhero show.

  5. Susan Hahn says:

    Great article! Now I’ll have to go back and read part 1.
    Btw, I haven’t seen Terminator in several years, but as I remember it Arnold was hardly the hero. The heroes were the young man from the future who risks, and ends up losing, his life to keep the Terminator from changing the past, and the woman who trusts and helps him, and, later in the franchise, raises their child to be a hero in the future.

  6. This has become the focus of my writing. I feel called to share how strong believers would handle being asked to walk a path of seemingly insane obedience. In my heroic fantasy series in another world, The Ferellonian King, a young boy is prophetically told (shortly after a radical rebirth experience) that he will be king though he is a nobody with no connections. Or in the case of my newest WIP, What if God called a young man first to surrender it all to Jesus, and then to deliver a modern American city from demonic forces behind protesters who are being duped by these forces who are preparing the way to bring in the antichrist? It focuses on realistic spiritual warfare in both cases. I have found in my nearly fifty years of walking with the Lord, that the Lord does amazing things for true believers willing to obey no matter what the cost or how foolish it may appear. I’m labeling the WIP: heroic urban fantasy. For real spiritual warfare has become fantasy for most of the church. I tell you, it has been a fun, inspiring ride so far.

  7. Right on Rebecca! God bless the influence of your characters!

What do you think?