Finding Truth in Fiction: What Fan Culture Gets Right - And Why It's Good To Get Lost in a Story
by Karen E. Dill-Shackleford and Cynthia Vinney
In Finding Truth in Fiction, two media psychologists reveal that there's much more to our desire to seek out stories in film, TV, and books than simple diversion - fiction can help us find truth in our real lives. Whether you consider yourself a fan of popular media or whether you find yourself thinking of a particular fictional scene for inspiration, you are not alone.
Though some assume that interest in a fictional world is a sign of psychological trouble, the authors enthusiastically disagree. Because story worlds are simulations of our social world, we use them to make sense of our experiences and even decide what kind of people we want to be. This makes fiction far from trivial. By exploring our relationship with fictional stories and characters, the authors will examine how we create mental models in our minds so we can understand stories and characters and how we differentiate between the identities of characters and the actors who play them. What story arcs, such as the hero's journey, are we drawn to again and again? How do the moments that strike us as important in a story change as we age and move through different stages in our life?
Delving into these questions and many more, the authors conclude that being a fan is not just healthy, it's human.
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Mad Men Unzipped: Sex. Love, and the Sixties on TV
by Karen E. Dill-Shackleford, Cynthia Vinney, Jerri Lynn Hogg, and Kristin Hopper-Losenicky
This is the story of the Mad Men fan phenomenon: how the show and its fans distinguished themselves in a market where it’s hard to make an impression, not unlike the driven ad execs at the center of the show. In this book, four media psychologists who also just happen to be dedicated Mad Men fans explore how the show’s viewers make meaning from fictional drama. The authors also interviewed several contemporary advertising industry professionals, getting their inside view of the business in its modern guise and what they make of the show’s vision of their past. The result is cutting-edge psychological research that crunches and codes online fan commentary to understand the ways that people use the show to debate complex social issues, from sex and alcohol to gender roles, parenting, and advertising itself. What do the 1960s mean to us today, and how well does the twenty-first century measure up against that famously turbulent decade? Which characters do fans identify with—and which ones do they love to hate? How would fans unfurl the Mad Men storylines if they were in charge? What makes a good man, and has it changed over time? How should husbands and wives treat each other, and how should parents treat their children?
In answering these questions, the authors explore not just the online commentary but also Mad Menfans’ fan fiction, cosplay, cocktail making, and vintage furniture collecting. Whether tweeting as one of the main characters (or just a lowly mail clerk), setting Peggy up with the man who’ll treat her right, or figuring out just which “Mad Man” they are at heart, fans integrate the show into their lives and use it to make sense of their own choices in work, leisure, and love.