cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
Oh god, sorry for making two posts in a row, but this episode of Beauty and the Beast (s1ep5, "Masques") is killing me. Seemingly every American series that ran in the 80s had to do A Very Special Episode About The Troubles In Northern Ireland, and they're my kryptonite. The above line was what made me turn to my boyfriend and go, "Give me the laptop back, I need to liveblog this!"

Catherine and her dad are at a Hallowe'en party to honour Briget O'Donnell, an Irish peace activist. Her bodyguard gets anxious about Mr. Chandler's sword and makes some remark about "croppies" which (as tedious exposition explains) might have been current in 1798 but is basically just an excuse for Irish People Being Irish Irishly and George R. R. Martin (for alas, it is he who wrote the episode) to show off his research. There are fears of an assassination attempt by 'Orangemen' (which... you can see what they were going for in terms of using terms associated with different sides in the conflict, but it conjures up really weird imagery of some guy in a sash and bowler hat showing up to murder her, as opposed to some generic UVF or UDA guy).

Anyway, Briget is being played by some Irish American from Wisconsin who does Fakey Floaty Romantic Vaguely Southern Irish Accent (you know the one) despite being from the Bogside ("In Derry," she tells us sadly, "the night has a darker music!") and... oh, it's just going to get worse and worse. But I am gripped. Horribly, horribly gripped. Also, Briget has a thing for Vincent (my boyfriend is now ad-libbing in her atrocious accent: "Sometimes I just want a hairy paw on me fanny!"), so it's not going to end well. I will edit in more awfulness as and when it becomes necessary.

it became necessary )
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
You are what you read, study suggests
http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/13/11665205-you-are-what-you-read-study-suggests

"Researchers have found that when you lose yourself in a work of fiction, your behavior and thoughts can metamorphose to match those of your favorite character, according to the study published early online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."

Um... yes? Obviously? Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to have it proved, but I hadn't thought of it as something that would elicit the kind of dismissal and skepticism in the comments. Let's read some highlights:

"Reading the Vampire Chronicles might romanticize vampires, but everyone that reads it doesn't go around biting peoples necks."

Points for thinking of the same books that immediately sprung to my mind (and come to think of it, I got the link to the article from Anne Rice's Facebook), but it's obviously about more subtle changes than that...

"As for books influencing people's minds, I doubt there's much chance of that as most of us don't read anymore."

Translation: "I don't read and I'm surrounded by people who don't read." How isolated do you have to be to never see people reading and have no inkling that books are a powerful cultural force? Every time I get on a bus or train it's full of people with paperbacks and Kindles! And even if you don't commute, surely the logic of Amazon's dominance and the fact supermarkets sell novels by the boatload and the continued existence of national book chains... gah. This is just another version of that smug-about-own-narrow-mindedness tone that pervades Yahoo UK
 article comments.

"This is interesting (my wife is a PhD research psychologist) but it doesn't say anything about those of us who prefer non-fiction or heavily-researched historical fiction (such as Michner.)"

I won't snark this since the same person does a wonderfully polite, understated take-down of the commenter above, but I do wonder what difference the fiction/non-fiction barrier really makes. I've read biographies that described their subjects intimately enough that they felt like fictional characters whose thoughts and feelings are knowable to the reader. And with heavily-researched historical fiction, well... it is still fiction, perhaps all the more immersive and emotionally convincing because the settling is so authentic. 

"I've been known to read 2 to 3 books at a time all of different subjects. How would they define that."

And this glorious example of missing the point by a mile was the moment when I realised I had to stop reading the article, because I was in danger of gesticulating impotently at the screen, as if attempting to reason with the commenter in person. What possible difference could simultaneous reading of multiple books make?!

Conclusion: it winds me up enormously sometimes, but THANK GOD FOR FANDOM, where you might get a vast swathe of opinion on a story like this, but at least it'd be possible to achieve consensus on what the article-writer actually said and meant...

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