The Guardian has an interesting blog post today pondering Hollywood's glamorizing of the publishing industry, sparked by the recent romantic comedy, The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock. In a world that seems to value reading less and less, what is it that makes the publishing industry seem like the appropriate backdrop for so many movies?
It is curious. And I would add to the conversation the movies and TV shows that seem to find the idea of writers and writing interesting. I'm thinking specifically of Californication, a show I wanted to like, but the thought just kept nagging me: we're supposed to be fascinated with this writer, a character that seems to capitalize on some idea of what a writer is (drunk, sex obsessed, popular??) with absolutely no basis in any writer's reality I've ever met. Why do people embrace the idea of writer-as-celebrity, when many can't even name any contemporary literary novelists?
And maybe if David Duchovny played a sex-obsessed and very popular biology lecturer, all the scientists would cry foul. He is one character, after all, exaggerated for our viewing pleasure. Still, there seems to be a great disconnect between the idea of who a writer (or a publishing executive) is in popular culture, and the reality of those lifestyles.
Here's a TV show I'm proposing: it's about an English teacher who reads a lot of short stories by college kids and writes comments in the margins with - we'll say - a purple pen (to keep things interesting). Afterwards, she tries to write her own stories. The pilot is called "Taking Five Hours to Write One Paragraph," and ends with our main character fixing herself a mixed drink but falling asleep before she is able to finish it. Hot. Any thoughts for the next episode?