Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Hero's Journey Led Me Astray: Further Reading



Here are some of the things I read about before, and refer to in, my TEDxBeaconStreet talk on the Hero's Journey. You should definitely read them and follow these writers.

The Hero's Journey


Joseph Campbell's work is beloved by most. It certainly has become the blueprint for screenwriting, through teachers like Robert McKee and Christopher Vogler. I found a few compelling counterpoints, though, ranging from the hilarious to the academic to the provocative:

"Hulk Explains Why We Should Just Stop It With The Hero Journey Shit" by Film Crit Hulk
"The Problem of Woman As Hero In The Work of Joseph Campbell" by Sarah Nicholson
"The Heroine With A Thousand Friends" by Elizabeth Lyon
"Forget the Hero's Journey. Women Want An Antagonist's Tale" by Robin Childs
"The Heroine's Journey: How Campbell's Model Doesn't Fit" by B. J. Priester

2013 movies about race


I'm not the first to notice the unusual abundance, prominence, and success (both artistic and commercial) of movies featuring African Americans in 2013. Much more will be said as the Oscar race proceeds.

"In Hollywood, Black Is The New Black" by Bilge Ebiri
"How Did Racism Get To Be So Popular?" by Stephen Marche

White people's relationship to movies about race


Like boys watching movies about female characters, white people supposedly won't go see movies featuring mostly Black casts. This is a curious by-product, or way of expressing, privilege: marginal groups are expected to enjoy stories of the dominant group--they do it every day! But the dominant group does not need to empathize with the marginal group. Unless they have an "audience surrogate."

"The White-Savior Industrial Complex" by Teju Cole
"Why White People Don't Like Black Movies" by Andre Seewood
"Oscar Loves A White Savior" by David Sirota

What about those statistics, huh?


It wouldn't be a TED talk without some numbers and studies. I got mine from these sources:

TV-watching and self-esteem "Racial and Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Children's Television Use and Self-Esteem" by Nicole Martins & Kristen Harrison

Racial make-up of 2012 movies and movie-goers MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics 2012, p. 13
"Race/Ethnicity In 500 Popular Films" by Dr. Stacy Smith, Marc Choueiti, & Dr. Katherine Pieper

Heroes of color in all time top 100 Top 100 Worldwide:
Independence Day (39)
Hancock (72)
Men In Black 3 (73)
Life of Pi (79) (Not Will Smith.)
Men In Black (84)
I Am Legend (88)
Puss In Boots (96) (I was generous.)
Plus, to be even more generous, I counted Beverly Hills Cop, which is #41 on the Top 100 Domestic Adjusted for Inflation.

Bias studies "Everyone Is Biased: Harvard professor's work reveals we barely know our own minds" by Carolyn Y. Johnson
Science Faculty's Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students" by Corinne Moss-Racusin, John Dovidio, Victoria Brescoll, Mark Graham & Jo Handelsman
"Lack of Female Sources in NY Times Front-Page Stories" by Alexi Layton and Alicia Chepard

What other articles, talks, and research have you found about these topics?

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