Jim Flynn is a humorist, writer and novelist. He is available for speaking engagements. To contact email: email@example.com
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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my friend Bob. In our discussions over the years I've had to remind him more than a few times that John Wayne movies aren't real. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was not an accurate historical documentary. Despite his tendency to forget this, Bob is a very successful guy, and can sometimes pass in society as a normal person.
So why does this matter? Because Bob is not alone, it's a universal human trait that readers or viewers are more influenced by characters in books and movies than they are by real people in their lives. Sports heroes are a subset of this: not seen as the flesh and blood people they are, but the icons they represent. Serious scientific studies using MRI scans support the above. Jury selection experts are known to ask prospective jurors what TV shows they watch. It helps them predict how a juror will feel about a given issue.
Those of you who've read the JR Johnson books may notice that he frequently quotes lessons he has learned from movies, especially his favorite: The Godfather. Toni Anne Laudano makes fun of him for this in the new book, but it turns out that Toni Anne, the cyber wizard, privately uses analogies to baseball, her favorite sport, to help her think through complex problems. The conflict between Toni Anne and JR is crucial to the story.