The Good Stuff: Stories, Sadness, Science and Non-Humans
It’s time for another digest of cool content…
1. The rise of agency in storytelling.
In “Agency. Or Why We Love Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings,” Peter Campbell talks about how storytelling is changing, perhaps due to evolutionary development. (Today our brains process complex data, so our stories have become more complex, too.)
Campbell explains more stories than ever are exploring “diverse people motivated by individual goals and influencing the world in different ways,” rather than following a straightforward, traditional Hero’s Journey. (You can see evidence of this in the rise of the anti-hero in movies and television and the growth in popularity of stories told from the perspective of multiple characters, like in Game of Thrones.)
Also, I should mention that this is the fourth article I’ve seen lately that talks extensively about agency, (“the capacity of an agent to effect change as well as to matter and make a difference in the world.”) Perhaps this is the new word du jour?
2. In praise of being human.
Sadly, the TV show, Being Human just wrapped up its four year run over at SyFi. But this is good news for all you binge-watchers who can now consume the entire run of the show, uninterrupted.
While it was on the air, I thought this show never really got the props it deserved, although I felt it was just as good as the original series from the UK (yes, I’ve watched them both.) The cast was strong and the pop culture references, fast and furious (where else can you hear someone make a John Waters’ mustache joke AND a reference to Dawson’s Creek?)
But the thing I liked best about Being Human is it’s a show about three supernatural beings who are forced to have crazy adventures so they can live like boring humans, being watched by boring humans who wish they could have lives filled with crazy adventures like supernatural beings.
3. What’s up with all the sadvertising?
Fast Company posted a whopper of an article recently on “The Rise of Sadvertising: Why Brands are Determined to Make You Cry,” which explored the trend toward ads that hit you in the heart.
The post has a number of interesting theories why this happening: maybe it’s because it’s psychologically a better way to tell compelling stories, maybe sad ads are better at cutting through the clutter, maybe it’s an antidote to the rampant snark of the 90s, maybe it’s because we’re becoming more self-actualized and can now look for the deeper meaning of things in our ads.
I suspect all of these things are a little true. But whatever the reason, let’s hope brands keep a strategic goal in mind for their sadvertising moving forward and use it sparingly.
4. An amazing saga.
Saga is a comic book series for adults created by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. It’s kind of an outer space Romeo and Juliet story that depicts “two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, (Alana and Marko) who are fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel.”
It’s beautiful, funny, exciting, a little dirty and an all-around amazing piece of work.
This was the first comic/graphic novel I’ve read on my Kindle app on my iPad, and it looked amazing in a digital format. You can find the first three volumes of the comic online at Amazon or at your local comics retailer.
5. A guide to bad science.
There is a lot of bad science and research online. Not sure how to tell what is good and what is bad? Then keep the handy dandy infographic below nearby. It will help you red flag the stuff you might want to dig deeper on (which is likely, everything.)