Saturday, January 20, 2007

Our flaws endear us

In a waiting room with Joey the other day, I picked up a magazine. I think it was "Money." Inside was a most amazing article about the company that produces most of the well-known characters that represent national brand products, like "Chester the Cheetah" and "Sonny the Cuckoo Bird."
The advertising artists made the point that it's the flaws of these characters that give them humanness and therefore attract us.
I'd never thought of that before.
Chester the Cheetah is kind of edgy and he's got a jones for crunchy cheese.
The Kool-Aid mascot is a klutz, destroying property to bring you refreshment.

The people on the forensic shows that Joey likes all have quirks and issues and eccentricities. Hmmm.

I guess that's why when I tried to read a Nora Roberts novel during one of the hurricanes it wasn't just the unrelenting wind that kept me from coming close to enjoying it. It was the fact that the two main characters did everything perfectly. There was hardly any conflict except that her father was probably a criminal and he happened to be a cop. Bleehhh.
There was no real connection between them yet they got into bed anyway. Drivel.

As I think about it, I can see it. It's something that somehow I never was told directly in writing classes... except maybe about Oedipus. And what a flaw he had!
How was Jocasta to know? Hell, how was Oedipus to know? I ask you.

It is odd behavior that draws our attention. It is ambulances and bent metal that we cannot resist ogling on the highway.

Wow. How come this never occurred to me before?

I knew about the various conflict themes but I must have been daydreaming when they said "Even our heroes are flawed and we love them all the more for it." Maybe I heard it but it never registered.

It's just a revelation I have been contemplating.

And sometimes, the people who engage our hearts aren't flawed so much as they are dealing with darkness in their lives that they struggle against... like illness or abuse or the state of the world.

We stay with these subjects when they keep on smiling through.

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