The debate with Mitt Romney made me rather surprised. I had this image of this guy in my head – a typical Republican, big business and burning down the ecosystem, and what not. In truth I ended up agreeing with a lot of what the guy said – though not all for sure, but he seemed normal, even reasonable.
In addition I've been watching the Daily show and while it is comedy focused with some international issues they've really been going into some depth. Again it's totally counter to what I've heard about the American media. It's supposed to be vapid and only skimming the surface. What's going on here?
It is funny how you end up making these pictures of people in your head. People who you've never even heard talk, all based on propaganda, hearsay and jingoism. I guess this is the biggest problem on both sides of the left right debate – on the sides of all debates. Is that we have this set image of what the other person is like. “All Christians are right wing … bla bla ”, “All gays are camp cavorting fellows who.... etc”. It makes it really hard to listen to what people are actually saying, because we've already decided what they are going to say.
I've seen a lot of the same in books and films. Two dimensional characters that we instantly know who they are: the geek with no social skills, the burly hero who stands against authority, the sasy love interest. I wonder how much I've done this with my own work - I hope not too much. I don't think I've done it with main characters, but maybe with "extras", but then I had hoped the same with politics and see how well that turned out.
It's something I'm really going to pay attention to in future stories - assuming there are any. I'm going to try and avoid using template characters and makes sure there is a back story to everyone. Likewise I'm going to try and do the same thing in real life and try and see the people that are really there and not just the image that I've been told to see.