Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't Touch that Dial

No, really. I'm serious and here's why:

Current events like the King of Pop's death are lessons in plot and characterization. I'm not using names, because I don't want to call attention to the fact that I'm going to dissect this media circus and turn it into a writing lesson. (I was going after a politician but he's been forced into the background. Pity. Cheating husbands are so much more fun to dissect.)

What we are working with is the following:

A disfigured, tormented, King of Pop - a man as talented as he is addicted, dies under mysterious circumstances.

His bitter, shattered father who was powerless to save him comes off looking like a villain because he can't face decades of pain. (Okay, I stand corrected on this one, but – hey – I just wanted to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.) Still he's the bitter father who lost his cash cow, he's got to be pissed off.

Cowering toadies who would do anything to curry favor – including supply endless amounts of drugs – scatter as the police swoop in to sort through the wreckage. Including someone who may have been a doctor or may have been a glorified drug pusher.

Media sharks in a feeding frenzy – knocking legitimate news off the small screen for ratings, Ratings, RATINGS! as the blood pours from the wounded survivors. The lawyers come in to town in shining jets like cleaner fish.

That's a great plot. It proves that fact is far stranger than fiction would ever be. No one could have sold this as a book deal, not even Jackie Collins or Nora Roberts, until after it happened. (Stay tuned. The whole thing will come out in print in about six weeks.)

Now for the characterization part of this disaster, watch the media. We will see bits of character in all of these people. Very little, since it is television – a media that conceals more character than it reveals – but if one looks for the clues and hints we can pick up on who the major players were in the singer's death.

The poor addicted soul who is the center of this – hmm, I don't have a polite phrase for it – media feeding frenzy will have to do – Has been portrayed in the tabloids far less kindly than I shall handle him or his family. There are hints of his character in back issues of every magazine.

To me, inner conflict is the difference between what a person says and what they do. There is a huge contrast between the famous singer the media saw, and whom he thought he was. This is inner conflict in its most blatant form.

Take the statement: "I love my family." Apply it to every member of that family. Should anyone care to write down the difference between those words and a person's actions in the following months a pattern will emerge.

Wow! What a conflict!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

So Palin resigns and the media wants to know all about it. The woman has late night comedians making jokes about her daughters and calling them names. She is obviously in over her head. She has a child with Downs Syndrome. I am not a resident of her state. It does not affect me in any way. It is none of my business. I am aware there is a complete lack of civility but this is just silly. Part of the problem with giving folks a microphone and security is that there are no consequences for behaviour. If folks spewed that kind of vitriol in the town square, there would be immediate repercussions. None of them have to face anybody. There are no social constraints on these people. No one confronts them.
Sad. Just Sad.
Rev. Leviticus Jackson

Ms Kitty said...

Palin is one of those people who would make a great character.

Not a protagonist in any of my stories - but I could see her as an antagonist very easily.

She hardly seems to take time to think, but reacts and reacts and reacts - often getting herself deeper and deeper in to the manure pile in the process.

There are other female politicians who are often called cold and calculating because they don't react - they stand back and make statements later.

Still - this woman's fifteen minutes of fame has expired.

Anonymous said...

A lot of this has to do with the fact that we now have an enormous numbers of people in the entertainment industry. We have nothing better to do with our time.

Sarah never never should have been shoved into the public spot light. Think what would happen with Paul Reed in the national news. She is in no way qualified. I personally think it is funny that the news media is treating her as someone who can think. They are dealing with a muppet. The McCain people are the ones who found her wandering in the wilderness. She was a beauty queen for heavens sake! What were they thinking?

When Alexander Haig left public life he told the reporters who arrived at his door that he was no longer in public life and they could go to hell. Then he closed the door. Maybe she will do the same but I don't think so. I think she wants to be a celebrity. She represents all the folks who think the world is beyond their control. She is not that well educated. She is at best a news lady. A local news lady. With news lady hair.

No one did anything like due diligence in choosing her. It is dumb to have a pregnant teen involved in an election campain. I know that lots of folks have troubles like this but there are folks in politics with no conscience. Why would you expose your family to that abuse?
It is impossible to describe what goes on. I have no idea why anyone would do such a thing for a living. Corruption was rampant in Alaska but that frequently happens in areas that are remote.

Rev. Leviticus Jackson

Ms Kitty said...

I've been behind on my posting, so I'm catching up today - in case anyone is wondering why these have taken so long to hit the blog.

I disagree with her being a "muppet" - impulsive, emotional, a Neo-Con pinup - yes all those. Ignorant to the point of being terrifying, most certainly!

But if she took the time to learn world affairs, get educated on the finer points of politics, what could she do then? (Tremendous damage to the country perhaps?)

The Party of Neo-Cons is so lacking in leadership - besides Boss Limbaugh - they may rally with her as their standard bearer.

As I said earlier - she makes an interesting character - like so many people in the news right now - their actions do not match their words - which to me is inner conflict. And inner conflict is essential for the depth of character that will make (or break) a story.

If I have to be drowning in news on these people - I'm going to make them useful to me.