Quite a Character…Our Fictional Influences

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101influential.jpg

My daily perusal of Metafilter Community Weblog yesterday introduced me to a new book that lists and expounds on the 101 most influential fictional characters in history.

From Amazon.com:
From Santa Claus to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from Uncle Sam to Uncle Tom, here is a compelling, eye-opening, and endlessly entertaining compendium of fictional trendsetters and world-shakers who have helped shape our culture and our lives. The “101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived” offers fascinating histories of our most beloved, hated, feared, and revered invented icons and the indelible marks they made on civilization, including:

  • 28: Rosie the Riveter, the buff, blue-collar factory worker who helped jump-start the Women’s Liberation movement
  • 7: Siegfried, the legendary warrior-hero of Teutonic nationalism responsible for propelling Germany into two world wars
  • 80: Icarus, the headstrong high-flyer who inspired the Wright brothers and humankind’s dreams of defying gravity…while demonstrating the pressing need for flight insurance
  • 58: Saint Valentine, the hapless, de-canonized loser who lost his heart and head at about the same time
  • 43: Barbie, the bodacious plastic babe who became a role model for millions of little girls, setting an impossible standard for beauty and style

The book’s full name is actually “The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History“…and I can’t wait to get my own copy.

According to the book, the top 50 fictional characters are:
1. The Marlboro Man
2. Big Brother
3. King Arthur
4. Santa Claus (St. Nick)
5. Hamlet
6. Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
7. Siegfried
8. Sherlock Holmes
9. Romeo and Juliet
10. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
11. Uncle Tom
12. Robin Hood
13. Jim Crow
14. Oedipus
15. Lady Chatterly
16. Ebenezer Scrooge
17. Don Quixote
18. Mickey Mouse
19. The American Cowboy
20. Prince Charming
21. Smokey Bear
22. Robinson Crusoe
23. Apollo and Dionysus
24. Odysseus
25. Nora Helmer
26. Cinderella
27. Shylock
28. Rosie the Riveter
29. Midas
30. Hester Prynne
31. The Little Engine That Could
32. Archie Bunker
33. Dracula
34. Alice in Wonderland
35. Citizen Kane
36. Faust
37. Figaro
38. Godzilla
39. Mary Richards
40. Don Juan
41. Bambi
42. William Tell
43. Barbie
44. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
45. Venus and Cupid
46. Prometheus
47. Pandora
48. G.I. Joe
49. Tarzan
50. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock

Click here for the entire list.

Sure the book delves into those characters that have influenced our culture as a whole…but it got me to thinking. What fictional character has most influenced my life…personally?

The answer came to me almost immediately…Marnie MacDonald.

Waits a beat while readers scan their brains for any recollection of the name.

Marnie MacDonald is the main character in my all-time favorite young romance novel…”An April Love Story” by Caroline B. Clooney (Wildfire, circa 1981).

The synopsis from the back cover of the book reads…

“Today,” my father announced, “I bought a farm in North Carolina. We’re leaving the city, Marnie. We’re going back to the land.”Back to the land? Leaving the city? Marnie MacDonald can’t believe her ears. Her parents must be kidding.

Worse, they’re going with the Petersons…sharing a house with them. And Marnie can’t stand their son, Lucas. At first.

But by April, when the MacDonalds and Petersons have lived and worked together for almost a year, Marnie finds herself head-over-heals in love with Lucas!

Now if only Lucas would notice…”

For the record, I’m convinced that my friend, Staci, is reading this right now and gnashing her teeth because I chose Marnie MacDonald over Elizabeth Bennet (who…believe it or not, Stace…didn’t make the top 101 list).

aprillovestory.jpgBut I must defend Marnie and explain why she has been so influential in my life since I first read about her at age 11.

Marnie is flawed, that’s certain…but she is dynamic in her strength of character and her ability to mature and learn from her mistakes. But even more than that, the thing I treasure most about Marnie is her wit.

She is always cutting snarky remarks…some of which I use today and…gasp…claim as my own. She is not only strong and confident, but she is unafraid to look past the imperfections of Lucas, a hunky geek, to fall in love and hold her head high while he, initially, doesn’t return her feelings.

Her coping mechanism is humor…humor in the everyday and in herself and her situation. It is her humorous perspective that keeps her from falling apart when things get tough.

I love Marnie so much…and have always wanted to emulate her. She has helped me get through my own tough times…quipping my way through unpleasant situations and learning to laugh at myself.

I still have my very worn copy of “An April Love Story” (pictured above). Every so often, I pull it out and read it (which now takes me all of two hours because I can practically recite it). But I still smile and cry and laugh and cherish the moments I spend with Marnie.

And I carry a little bit of her with me all the time.

So, my questions to y’all are:

Who is the most influential fictional character in your life? Maybe it’s someone from the list above…or maybe, like me, it’s some small character that you connected with and who has quietly guided you through your years.

And looking at that list above…I want to know your thoughts. Who do you think should be there who isn’t (Staci…I’m sure you’re itching to tell us your thoughts)?

And who from that list influenced you the most? (Feel free to explain how they influenced you.)

Let me get y’all started.

To add:
Marnie MacDonald

My top 10 influences from the list:
9. Romeo and Juliet
16. Ebenezer Scrooge
21. Smokey Bear
26. Cinderella
34. Alice in Wonderland
64. Superman
67. Kermit the Frog
70. Peter Pan
79. The Cat in the Hat
85. Luke Skywalker

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56 Responses to “Quite a Character…Our Fictional Influences”

  1. Holeigh Says:

    Ooh, I want this book too! 🙂

    My top influence has to be Trixie Belden, from the teen mystery series of the same name. My mom started reading the books when she was about 13 (mid 70s) and she saved all of them to give to me. I have since acquired some that are very hard to find, in hopes of completing the series.

    Trixie is a smart, strong, and down to earth girl who lives in a perfect quaint New York town and solves mysteries of all types, much like Nancy Drew. I loved the idealistic lives all of the characters lived without going over the edge of corny. I wanted to be like her when I was younger and now I have great memories of the stories and personalities I read so much about. (Aww…how sweet, haha.)

    My Top 10 From The List
    4. Santa Claus
    5. Hamlet
    8. Sherlock Holmes
    12. Robin Hood
    26. Cinderella
    56. Loch Ness Monster
    57. Atticus Finch
    60. Batman
    75. Norman Bates
    93. The Great Gatsby

    I don’t know if they have influenced me per se, but they have certainly meant a lot to me in terms of fascination and nostalgia.

  2. Rowan! Says:

    I grew up reading Enid Blyton books, as there was very little money around for extras, and my books were mostly gifted at Christmas, and not exactly my choice, certainly in the early reading years. I loathed Enid Blyton. There was very little else out there, in terms of children’s literature, that I really recall. Her thigh-slapping, gung-ho, well-heeled young adventurers sailed boats, solved crimes, had picnic baskets packed for them by nameless cooks, and said things like, “Golly!” and “Buck up.” I was Wednesday Adams, and could not subscribe to the Enid Blyton ethos. Bitterly resented her world, whilst trawling through most of the novels, as they were all I could find.

    At age ten, I discovered Jane Eyre. It was a revelation. Jane was my age, she was bullied and marginalised, but had the courage of her convictions, and knew her own self-worth. She had found her voice. She railed at her cruel aunt, who had locked her in a dark and frightening room overnight. She could see where her rights were being infringed, and spoke up, in spite of what the consequences would be. She was naturally reticent, yet motivated from a sense of injustice to stand her ground. I was completely thrilled with Jane, imagining turning into her, when being picked-on by a teacher for being overweight and poor at maths. Sitting red-faced and tearful, I would think of Jane, and imagine alternative scenarios where she would redress the wrongs I’d had done to me, and let me emerge with a bit of self-esteem.

    Years later, I gained great enjoyment from teaching the novel to a class of fourteen year-olds, who responded with vigour and enthusiasm to the persona of Jane, searching for self-determination from her lowly and impoverished status, knowing she was a bright spark, not letting anyone force her into the shadows. Charlotte Bronte…you rawked!

    My four year-old daughter takes a more materialistic approach to the issue of being appreciated. She tells me that when I get myself a car, it should have a robotic arm which pops out and applies lipstick and powder, in the mode of Penelope Pitstop’s eye-catching vehicle. Image is the answer to making an impact in this life, so she tells me, and Penelope is her fictional icon of the moment. “Now Mummy, you are not going out in that, are you? What about earrings? they would make such a diffenrence…” Sigh!

  3. Rowan Says:

    Yikes, I have an exclamation point after my name! How did that happen? Typo-tastic! This is why I’m kinda scuuurd to hotlink…bulding up to it, though. : D

  4. Staci Says:

    I’m in meetings all day, starting in 25 minutes, so I don’t have much time to comment. But — brace yourself — while I’m, yes, a little disappointed that Elizabeth Bennett did not make the list, I’m not surprised. And, since I only started reading P&P within the last 10 years of my life, I cannot say she made me the girl I am today…

    And so I ask myself, what fictional character most influenced the first 25 years of my existence…hmm…

    Like you, Shell, I had a young affair with the tween novels… but I cannot remember just one that hit me more than any others…

    As for those on the list… meh… Hester Prynne got a head nod, as did King Arthur… but influence me? Only toward not having sex with the minister, or my sibling, in Arthur’s case, like I needed those helpful hints.

    I wish I had more time this morning to think about this and make a strong response… but no.

    I have a non-literary person in mind. Samantha, Molly Ringwald’s character in 16 Candles. That’s who I remember from my growing up years as my icon… sad, but true. I’m just the somewhat geeky girl wanting the HS hottie to look my way… and drive the red Porsche to pick me up, of course. 🙂

  5. shelley Says:

    Staci…my respect for you increases at every turn.

    For having the bravery to admit your strongest influence is Samantha…not Elizabeth…I hereby award you the…

    Monkbot Medal of Honor

    Well done, my friend.

  6. double d Says:

    Can’t hang with all you brainiacs on the literature front and I wasn’t a “reader” until adulthood, and then, not so prolific.

    However, I must sight my dear Charlie Bucket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. His sincerity, honesty and goodness won him the “Ultimate Prize”, the love of his family — and of course, the factory…I LOVE the “Good Guy Finishes First” theme and certainly the correlation to our favorite Monkbot.

    From the list…influences:

    2. Big Brother
    24. Odysseus
    35. Citizen Kane
    39. Mary Richards
    51. James Bond
    61. Uncle Sam
    66. HAL 9000
    88. Pygmalion
    93. The Great Gatsby
    96. Betty Boop

  7. nolagirl Says:

    The books I remember reading most as a kid were those by Judy Blume. “Blubber” anyone?

    Of course I was into The Babysitters Club (what was I thinking?!).

    But the first “person” who came to mind after reading this post was Ameila Bedelia. I can remember reading those books with my mom and at my grandmother’s house. To this day, when I pull one of my not-so-bright comments (which happen more frequently than I’d care to mention) we laugh and my mom will say “Ok, Amelia Bedelia!” as she rolls her eyes at my stupid comment.

    I remember specific stories even, like the time she “stole” first base. What an idiot, bless her heart. 🙂

  8. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Oh, Lord! This could possibly take me all day. My entire childhood was spent with my nose in a book. (Escapism at it’s finest.) I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.

    From the list of the 101:

    62. Nancy Drew- B/c she kicked ass, was pretty and smart, had a core group of great friends, and she came from a single parent home that was still very loving and stable.

    91. Dorothy Gale- B/c she was willing to run away from home to save Toto, she was so innocent and good that she destroyed evil, and she was real, real pretty.

    20. Prince Charming- B/c he ruined my idea of what real love, romance, and men are like.

    That’s it. (And I love Santa.)

    From my own list…and I cannot believe these folks didn’t make “that” list…the most influential (supposedly) fictional characters in my life:

    1. Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maude Montgomery. She was so vivacious, curious, had so much “scope for imagination”…she had a deep appreciation for nature and beauty. She was teachable. She, like me, was self-concious…but had the tendency to be very vain and self-involved. However, she, like, me…was just yearning to be loved and nurtured. We are/were “kindred spirits”. I have read the series maybe 10x in my lifetime…and will continue to read it every so often.

    2. Jo March- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. She was strong, smart and ahead of her time. She was surrounded by a loving and supportive family. I loved that she didn’t fall for “the boy next door” but instead fell in love with a poor, intelligent, older man. She was unlike Anne Shirley in the sense that she had no insecurity in her…so I looked up to that.

    3. Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I’ve also read and re-read this series numerous times over my life. Lucy always stood out to me as a girl with a character that stood the test of time. She had an unshakeable faith, even when no one else believed her. I always wanted to be like that. I still do…

    4. Anne Elliot of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Yes, I know she is not a popular choice among the mainstream “Austenites”, but in my estimation, she is by far the best of all Austen’s heroines. Even as a teenage girl, when I felt that Emma Woodhouse was so fun and cute…something about Anne Elliot drew me in and felt deeper or something. I identified with how she was out of place in her family. She was quiet and stoic and gracious. I want to be like her! I’m Anne Shirley…all tumbling in the mud and talking all the time…I want to be Anne Elliot…quiet, demure, and mature. Oh! It’s never to be!

    4. Atreyu/Bastian Balthazar Bux from The Neverending Story by Ralph Manheim. The only male novel-character that made an impact on me. Because of the sheer adventure of it all and specifically his heroics and self-reflection/change. The movie was awesome! (I love the 80’s) But the book was a masterpiece….I’m not kidding. It’s a must read.

    And…since Stace brought it up…I am Andie in Pretty in Pink. Always on the outside looking in!

  9. shelley Says:

    For Bama…

  10. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Dude! That raaaawked!! Hell yeah! Thanks Shelley!

    I loved Falkor, the Luckdragon. I wanted one so bad when I was growing up! I never got anything I wanted!

  11. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?

    Echo! Echo! Echo! Echo!

  12. shelley Says:

    Man…I thought this post would be more of a conversation starter.

    Hmmmm….

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Well, geeze and here I nearly wrote a novel of my own too! Right?

    I guess b/c we just all talked about our own thing and didn’t really get into each other’s experinence….ya think?

  14. double d Says:

    How about MONKBOT as a great fictional character influence?

    DA BEST.

    What time is it in Paris, BTW?

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    DD- DUH!! The Monkbot is real silly!

  16. shelley Says:

    Official Prize of the Day goes to DD for recognizing the GREATNESS of the Monkbot.

    Bama…what was all that sh*t you and Gray were talking about on GC.com about his posting at other sites? Did I miss something?

  17. double d Says:

    Yeah! I love that blue suit…very “Springtime in Alabama”, ‘cept guys are usually wearing white bucs instead of tenny shoes.

    Gray gave Bama the blah, blah, blah, blah….heh. heh. heh.

    Go to the back of the class, young lady.

  18. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Whateva DD! Me and Gray are bestest friends ever!! I told him to delete the damned thing…I just had to say something in reference to a certain “un-named” commenter.

    Shelley- Someone suggested that Gray quit posting at other sites. Yeah, I don’t think he went for that at all!

  19. double d Says:

    Bama,
    isn’t the Monkbot a fictional character used to describe a real character? Kind of like “Charlie”?

    Hello? Is this thing on?

  20. double d Says:

    Gray can NEVER stop posting elsewhere….it’s just too much damn fun…for him and of course, for us.

    And, as we all know….

    IT IS ALL ABOUT US!

  21. shelley Says:

    I read all the comments and missed that.

    Thanks.

    Bama…I’m picking a fight with you at Gray’s…be warned.

  22. shelley Says:

    amen to DAT, DD!!! 🙂

  23. Rowan Says:

    LOL Bama. Love the echo!

    Like your memorable literary figures a lot. It used to strike me as a child that there was this huge paradox between winsome, fragile and intelligent, as portrayed in fiction and film, and the prevailing attitude to such qualities in real life. Jo March, yes, she was cool. Anne Shirley, she wore her heart on her sleeve and was ultimately a big hit for doing so, if not in the beginning. I used to feel a kinship with her desire to spill out emotionally, but it never quite got me anywhere. I was a mutterer in corners, getting pulled-up for snarks which, for the most part, were unintended. I just looked snarky. Inside I was Pollyanna.

    My father was part of the amusing paradox I’m recalling. Winsome was ok for some, but not for others… He would listen to Barbara Streisand all day, then rip up any non-celluloid woman who had the audacity to go in for voluble displays of emotion. Barbara was ditsy and effervescent, appealing in her long boots and cute caps, even though she never stopped talking in her films, and I thought she was manic and deeply mad. My father loved her on-screen cutesy craziness. If she’d lived in our street, though, he’d have run a mile and called her “neurotic.”

  24. nolagirl Says:

    Did I hear whining about not enough posts??

    Thought so!

    I have no fancy literary jargon to spew, only nonsense. I would never want to jeopardize the integrity of one of your posts, Shelley. 😉

    So did anyone watch Laguna Beach last night? Speaking of nonsense … (it is embarrassing to tell you all that I watch it every Wed.)

  25. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Nola I watch it too! Alex is sooo mean! Rocky is way better off w/o him in my opinion. Gah! Although, I don’t know why she went out with Nick(?) he’s ugly.

  26. shelley Says:

    Nola said, “I have no fancy literary jargon to spew, only nonsense. I would never want to jeopardize the integrity of one of your posts, Shelley. ;)”

    Bwa…ha…ha!

    Integrity of post!?

    Okay…here’s a debate of the highest integrity…

    Who would you rather be and why?

    Ginger or Marianne?

    Veronica or Betty?

    I know these four women have had BUTTloads of influence on most of us (though maybe not Claire or Rowan).

    AND…do you the Marianne’s resent the Gingers? Are the Veronicas pissed off by the Bettys?

  27. nolagirl Says:

    Yeah, I liked Alex much better when he didn’t talk – but we had to (unfortunately) hear him talk a lot yesterday. Speaking of talking, can one guy sound any more annoying than that Tyler dude?? Seriously. And don’t get me started on Cami and Kyndra. Barf.

    Oh, and Nick is ugly, yep. But, to me, Rocky ain’t that pretty either. I like Tessa and Chase and that’s about it. I still want the 1st cast back. *sniff sniff*

  28. nolagirl Says:

    Oh and Bama – what is up with Kidd?? I was still confused this morning. Is this some kind of joke?

  29. double d Says:

    Ok, I’m all about real, so I HAVE to say Mary Ann as well as Betty. I think of myself as the anti-“chick”. I am not into frou-frou girlie clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc., nor the shallowness of a movie star like Ginger or a “priss” cheerleader like Veronica.

    Arent’t “those” girls always the coniving, mean girls that make everyone feel bad? Resent? Hells yeah. It’s basically the theme of every teen movie over the past 20 years. Think “She’s All That”.

    Slightly off topic but…cut me off a slice of that Freddie Prinze. CA-UTE.

  30. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Okay- I’d have to say for sure I’d wanna be the Ginger/Veronica chicks…except not stupid like Ginger and not mean like Veronica! I mean, they were gorgeous! And, trust me, I’ve seen what beauty can buy…whether a person is actually using it or not. It totally sucks that the world works this way…but, hey…if I could make it easier for myself…why the hell not?

  31. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Nola- I have no idea wassup with Kidd. Totally freaked out here!

    I thought Alex was so cute…but what an ass! Yeah, Rocky needs a haircut and to take off some of that make-up..but I think she’s cute…and waaay mature for her age. Tessa and Chase should date. Puhleeze let some romance heat up! I totally miss the first cast!

  32. shelley Says:

    I want to be a mix of Ginger and Betty.

    I think Ginger was not only gorgeous…she was a lot of fun (unlike that beotch Veronica).

    Betty is smart…though a little bit of a know it all.

    I liked MaryAnn…but something about her didn’t quite click with me.

    Veronica…? I just hate her.

  33. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Rowan- I always liked Babs better in the movies.

    And..

    If I actually knew a little girl like Anne Shirley…I’d prolly have to smack her.

    Shelley- I think every woman needs a little Veronica for the snark factor…And…yeah, Maryanne kinda gagged me.

  34. nolagirl Says:

    Bama – WORD. (so does this mean you watched The Hills too? Hee hee)

    Well, kids, I have to go do an interview. I wish it was about something cool like, you know, Taylor Hicks or something. But noooooo, it is about Dow’s 50th anniversary of operations in Louisiana. Jellis?? 😉

    I hope I don’t fall asleep on the phone. See ya later gators!

  35. double d Says:

    Bama…I would hate to have to use my looks to get ANYTHING. Of course, if I did use my looks I WOULDN’T get anything, but that’s another topic.

    I’m like a bull that keeps butting it’s head against the barn wall on the whole “take me as I am” thing. It’s why I HATE Barbie. It gives little girl the wrong image about what they “should” look like. Maybe it’s a reverse stereo-type but when I see a tall, blond, nice looking woman, I immediately see shallow, self-absorbed and dumb. (and yes, I know Betty was a blond and Veronica the brunette.)

  36. bamaborntxbred Says:

    DD- I don’t mean when women use their looks to get ahead…I’m saying, b/c the way the world works…beautiful people go farther in life (provided all the other variables are generally equal.)

    It isn’t a beautiful woman’s fault that her bosses perceive her as more intelligent and hardworking than the homely chick next to her.

    And, yes, just as it’s unfair to assume that the above is true…it’s also unfair to assume that a beautiful woman is stupid, vain, or silly. Especially based on the color of her hair or her height.

    And don’t get me started on blaming Barbie…

  37. shelley Says:

    Okay…wait…so are we saying the the majority perceives beautiful women to be smarter?

    What about Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Simpson, Janes Mansfield…don’t those icons perpetuate the belief that beauties are vapid and stupid?

    Are the girls with glasses and bad hair (a la Ugly Betty) supposedly the “smart ones”?

    OR WAIT…is it that an ugly woman can be considered smart until she is FAT and ugly…then the assumption is that she’s dumb?

  38. claire Says:

    Drive-by from my parents house (in dial-up hell)

    I was a very advanced reader. I read most of Enid Blytons works at a young age. Did you ever read the Malory Towers series? (Rowan, I know you hear me!!)It was set in a boarding school, where they had midnight feasts and played tricks on their teachers and rescued each other from various misfortunes…..The main character was called Darrell. I thought she rawked. Oh, the innocence of youth….

  39. double d Says:

    Sorry, but I disagree with your stereotype of “Smart Blondes”, dear Bama-girl.

    Most “lookers” are never taken seriously for real work. That might “play” on TV, but in the real world, those folks lose because of people like me and my thoughts about them.

    Shelley is ko-RECK on the plain Jane, bookish look as being perceived as intelligent. Of course, I think that short, petite, squatty, brunettes are the KEWLEST and smartest…. ; )

  40. baby duck Says:

    I’m ashamed to admit that I only know 47 of the top 50. And, no, I won’t say which three.

    If by influenced, you mean which ones got me to behave in a way I might not have if I hadn’t heard of them, from the top 50 I’d have to say Santa Claus and Smoky Bear. I wanted the presents, dammit, and then-forest-now-wild fires are scary. If anyone else on the list got me to change my behavior, it was subliminally.

    Who’s not on their list who would be on the top of mine:
    #1. June Cleaver. See Shelley’s blog from October 24th. Nuff said.

    #2. The topless dancer in Spanish Pipedream by John Prine.
    “…these are the words she spoke:
    Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
    Go to the country, build you a home
    Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
    Try and find Jesus on your own”
    A life for the most part lived by those words has served me well.

  41. shelley Says:

    baby duck…I’m ashamed to admit I only 44 of the top 50.

    I totally agree about June Cleaver!

    Love the Prine lyrics…thanks for sharing.

  42. Rowan Says:

    Double d – as your description fits me very well, i would have to agree with you!

    Claire – awww on the dial-up! I never read Malory Towers, but with you on the loads of Enid Blyton. Looked desperately for one of the four characters to identify with, and settled on George, the androgenous girl who had the labrador dog and got to be involved in the really cutting-edge stuff with the boys…tho she was always portrayed, sadly, as a bit, well, unusual. The only other alternative was Anne, who was mousy and wore pretty frocks and always stayed behind to look after the coats or needed rescued! Julian, the elder boy, and leader, was deeply bland, and as for the mysterious Uncle Quentin…always found him decidedly creepy.

    Interesting to question how deeply stereoptypes in children’s fiction impact on their future expectations. My daughter firmly believes that a handsome prince will come her way…goodness knows how. I don’t read her sfuff like this – all her bedtime stories seeem to involve single mothers who run farms and are part-time firefighters. I blame the Barbie ads….

  43. bamaborntxbred Says:

    DD- We’ll have to agree to disagree b/c I’ve seen it happen first hand…more times than I can count…that the “pretty” person edged out the plainer one in job-interviews (And don’t forget, I said all other variables had to be equal, including intelligence). I’ve seen it in question/answer sessions where the speaker calls on the attractive people with their hands up. I was actually told by a boss one time that he chose me over another girl b/c I was more stylishly dressed…it gave him the impression that I would be more savvy. Ha!

    I’m not saying these things are good…but there are all kinds of things out there skewing our perceptions…and although it’s wrong to believe that someone is “less than” b/c they aren’t attractive…it’s also wrong to have an attitude where, on spec, you dislike the beautiful blonde b/c she is a beautiful blonde.

  44. shelley Says:

    Bama…I agree that beautiful people meet with success more often…but I don’t think it has to do with folks thinking they are smarter.

    I think it’s because they want the pretty people to accept THEM!

  45. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I think that happens sometimes…but I also think that if two people walk in with the exact same resume, social skills, etc. They interviewer is biased toward the attractive person…they will feel more comfortable with them, and feel that they “get it”, are quicker, wittier, more trustworthy, etc. Only people with strong biases against attractive people will not feel these things.

    And: you all are making your assumptions based on “blonde” (See Jessica Simpson statement)…I’m saying “attractive” in general.

    BTW: being a tall, buxom blonde that is not wholly unttractive would seem to make me a target of your (DD’s) disdain. That sucks, considering I’m damned smart, and hardworking.

  46. shelley Says:

    Okay…you are smart…and hardworking…and the friggin’ BOMB!

    But I think that what you’re saying is only true SOME of the time…other times beauty makes folks uncomfortable.

    I admit, I’ve worked with people who prefered to only be around (hire) attractive people and they only did it because they were morons…seriously.

    One of these people said they would never hire someone with bad teeth. I quickly pointed out that I had worn braces and had EXTREMELY bad teeth as a kid. They said that I had the “sense” to get them fixed. I pointed out that others may not have the means financially…it has more to do with cents, not sense. She stood her ground. I would put her in the “ugly folks don’t get it” category.

    Another person I worked for (an optometrist) only hired attractive women to work in his office (I was much thinner and passed the “attractive” test). He did it because he liked being around pretty women…and because he felt they were good for business. It had nothing to do with being smarter or wittier or more trustworthy…he was just a pig.

    On the other hand, I still think your statement is too much of a blanket. I’ve been around many MORE people who give credence of intellect to the dowdy over the dandy.

  47. StrongandFree Says:

    Since this is my first time posting at monkbot (yay!) I come bearing a hostess gift. To all of the funny, smart monkbotters out there. Enjoy… Are you a Wilma or a Betty Man? – one of my favorite tunes by Melanie Doane.

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/vly4ta

    (fingers crossed the link works)

  48. Squeebee Says:

    Short, petite, squatty, brunettes unite!

  49. shelley Says:

    StrongandFree…thanks for the gift! I enjoyed the song.

    Glad you’re here and commenting. 🙂

  50. StrongandFree Says:

    Shelley – You are very welcome! It’s the least I could do for the hours of entertainment you have provided. Love the blog, love the stories and the sharing. The flea market piece was fantastic (among others). I also have to add a special shout-out to Rowan, whose posts I love (ok, I’m over using ‘love’ in this post, but let me gush the first time and I promise not to gush anymore). I am so glad Rowan is posting again after first showing up at GC way back in the old days 🙂

  51. Squeebee Says:

    Strongandfree! Monkbots are now represented on both coasts of Canada! Whoooo!

  52. StrongandFree Says:

    Thanks for welcoming me squeebee, I’m proud to represent the east coast. Now… must prepare for Grey’s Anatomy! I too am a fan. I’ve been reading Shelley’s blog since the beginning and have wanted to jump in many times, so will go to bed happy tonight that I finally joined in.

  53. shelley Says:

    Y’all…sad news…Grey’s is a rerun tonight. ;(

  54. StrongandFree Says:

    Aargh! I just realized that (Grey’s repeat), and to boot, it’s on an hour later than usual… OK then, that gives me time to go back through the monkbot archives and put together a little post with all of the things I nearly jumped in an shared but didn’t…. like the Zoom post (which made me remember my first true TV love… Lance Kerwin….) and that very night I went out on my deck and did the arm thing, and the dentist post, and the plumbing post and and and… OK, I’m done for the night before I get booted out! *GRIN*

  55. NOLAgirl Says:

    Shelley, NOOOOOOO!!! Why is this so????

  56. Rowan Says:

    StrongandFree – Hey! Thanks very much for the shout-out, it was very nice to wake up to. Yes, have fond memories of the early days on GC, when I came by not knowing an mp3 from a usb. Recall my soul sistah MindDoc’s cheerful welcome, and all the heartwarming, kind advice about finding my way around a computer, offered by Gray and fellow posters. When Gray posted that right-clicking saved an mp3, it was a revelation…hadn’t even noticed until then that the mouse had two switches (blush.) Now I have a wireless router and an IM phone and am bristling with technology which was once outwith my frame of reference…in fact, sitting here kinda hungry, awaiting the delivery of my online grocery shopping!

    Greetings, StrongandFree, from a fellow ex-lurker: ) The fab Flea Market thread was one of my favourites too.

    Have just spotted that Grey’s Anatomy is showing on one of my cable channels. Yay! Can watch and absorb and be in the loop! : D

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