Thursday, June 18, 2009

Challenging Stereotypes through Entertainment

There have been certain books, movies, and television programs over time that, while meant primarily to entertain, have stirred quite a bit controversy and caused many of us to rethink our preconceived notions about people. Do you remember the weekly off-color comments that Archie Bunker made from the comfort of his armchair? He spoke in an honest and sometimes offensive manner that would never be allowed on network television today. How about when Ellen DeGeneres used her television program to present an openly gay lead character to the country? She continues to be one of the popular figures in entertainment today. The movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which was released in 1967, caused great controversy with the presentation of an interracial marriage. And, books ranging from The Bible to works by Mark Twain to The Joy of Sex have been burned for the supposed dangerous ideas they asserted. I love the idea of these different art forms being the sparks for some great debates!

My three published books all center on the game of golf and the personalities who spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course. However, another theme that runs throughout my work is the use of stereotypes that purposefully challenge our comfort levels. From race to sexuality to parenting, I worked diligently to create language and physical details that would force the readers to examine their own views on how society portrays different types of individuals. I want people to break out of their comfort zones a bit when they read my books.

If you have read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, or Tuey’s Course, I would love to hear your thoughts on the stereotypes that I work to expose. Did you have a particularly strong reaction to any of the characters? Was I accurate with some of the ideas that we commonly hold, or do you think I was completely off-based? I would love to know either way! I look forward to hearing from you.

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