Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Common Stereotypes (that drive me up a friggin' wall)

As readers, we see hundreds of thousands of the same idiot-formed stereotypes in what we like to call "popular fiction."  Characters that are cookie-cutter cliches and paper-thin do nothing to advance the art and are indicative of bad writing.  Yet, they still happen.  Pick up five random paperbacks, I'd bet that four of them have some kind of stereotyped characters.  Moreover, the stereotypes are based on ill-informed prattle, hearsay, paranoia, and are oftentimes racist, sexist, and just plain wrong.  It irritates me to no end that such stereotypes exist, and that so-called "artists" continue to put them forth.  Here are a few of my least favorite stereotypes:

  • Satanists - Check the news and you'll see hundreds of reports of "Satanic Cults."  Lots of books play into the same hysteria and paranoia.  But guess what folks:  There is a Church of Satan, and they don't do what people say they do.  They were founded by a fellow named Anton LeVey and they don't go around kidnapping babies, sacrificing kittens, or most of the other things ascribed to them.  In fact, they pretty much leave everyone else alone unless they're provoked.  "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" (which was actually said by Alestair Crowley) is pretty much their guiding force, but they don't just go on random ritual killing sprees.  The people who do that are called serial killers.  
  • Minorities - We like to think we've moved past this, but I can't count the number of times in the past couple of years that I've seen books containing ignorant black thugs, lazy fat Mexicans, money-grubbing Jews, Oriental bad drivers and tech geniuses, noble Native Americans, and Russian/German militant bad-guys.  Come on, people.  Haven't we gotten past this?  Can we please?  People, no matter their skin color, nationality, religion, sexual preference, or hat size, are just people.  They are products of their environment, upbringing, moral code, nutrition, and hundreds of other factors.  All people, no matter what, deserve to be treated with respect.  Period.  When you belittle someone for being different, you reveal yourself to be small minded. 
  • Witches - Not evil, not insidious, and not out to recruit everyone.  It's not like they win a toaster for converting x-number of non pagans.  They're generally not premiscuous (or any more so than any other religious group), nor are they "out of touch" or "living in a fantasy world."  In fact, chances are, there's one working next to you right now and you'd never know it. 
  • Gays/Lesbians - How many times have you seen the stereotype of the flamboyant, cross-dressing fag or the Burkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, man-hating dyke?  Gay men and women are just like everyone else.  They love, they laugh, they cry, they make decisions and they need to pay the rent, just like everyone else.  They don't all run around wearing the opposite gender's clothing, nor are they all "lipstick lesbians" or "boy-toys."  They come in all shapes and sizes, all races, and all backgrounds.  Build a good character, not a good stereotype. 
  • Christians - I'll probably catch flack for this one, but I'm sick of seeing the "God-Warrior," the militant ignorant bigot who does everything because "God says so."  Not all Christians are assholes.  In fact, the vast majority of them are kind and accepting of other people.  Just because the psychos get all the press (as they do in any religion) doesn't mean they're all like that.  It has become somewhat fashionable to portray Christians in a negative light, and that's tragic.  For every dipshit who tells the world that "God hates fags," there are a hundred others who reject his hate-filled doctrine.  
What I'm trying to put forth here are words that someone much smarter and much more talented that I once said:  "Good writing is truth."  Don't perpetuate bigotry.  Build real people. 


  1. Well said my brutha. Well said.


  2. Right on all counts. It's a wonder how many old chestnuts there are out there.