TV geek that I am, I frequent forums to discuss my favorite shows like Mad Men and Game of Thrones.  I keep seeing people post comments like, “This is the show’s protagonist?  THIS guy?  But he’s so unlikeable!  I don’t know if I can keep watching.”

I’m sorry . . . I thought that was the point?

Don Draper.  Pretty much every character in the GoT universe.  Walter White.  Dexter Morgan.  Nancy Botwin.  Al Swearengen.  Tony Soprano.  All these characters do horrible things– shocking things.  We hate them for it.  And yet, we don’t stop watching—we can’t stop watching.

Characters shouldn’t have to be likable—they should be compelling.

What purpose does that serve?  Well, mainly they’re just mesmerizing to watch.  How often are the villains more interesting than the heroes?  Anti-heroes give us the best of both worlds– they may have good intentions, but they’re flawed, crippled by desires or ambition.  Like us, they make horrible mistakes.  Often, they keep making them.  Or they keep making the same mistake.

We read and watch films and television shows to step out of ourselves.  Fiction gives us the opportunity to think the unthinkable, to speak the unspeakable, to do the nasty.  If you want a boy scout, go watch Captain America.  If you want someone sweet as pie, check out Pollyanna.  But don’t complain when you tune into a show about people who lie for a living, or a medieval-style fantasy featuring broadswords.  Somebody’s going to get mercilessly whacked.

No one said Don Draper was the hero—just the focus of the story.  And just because Don’s the focus of the story, doesn’t necessarily mean you should like him, either.  And, good Lord, I hope you don’t fucking identify with him.  If you do, what’s wrong with you?  (Unless you grew up in a whorehouse, in which case, I’d say your foibles are understandable.)

We’ve always been fascinated by reprehensible characters—Macbeth was not a nice guy.  He was weak and easily manipulated, and ultimately responsible for a lot of deaths.  Sherlock Holmes, one of my personal favorites, is actually the consummate Victorian gentleman in Doyle’s stories.  But he has been altered in recent adaptations to come across as a high-functioning autistic or even a sociopath because we are fascinated by the image of Holmes as a crime-solving machine with no social skills.

The Greek gods were petty squabblers and back-stabbers.  Lancelot and Guinevere were adulterers—and so were Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.  Indiana Jones, Han Solo and Rhett Butler are all scoundrels.  Humbert Humbert is a perv.

Alex DeLarge and Hannibal Lecter are hypnotic.  Becky Sharp and Scarlett O’Hara didn’t play by the rules, and neither did Jane Eyre.  Tom and Huck and Bart Simpson are all rascals.  Homer Simpson is a gross, selfish asshole who paved the way for Peter Griffin.  Patrick Bateman is a psycho.  Tyler Durden is schizo.  Even the Cat in the Hat lured children into misbehaving.  James Bond is a stone-cold killer.  And that’s why we love him.  We love our characters with skeletons in the closet, with monsters under the bed, with toys in the attic.

There are happy stories and happy characters.  I like Disney and Anne of Green Gables.  I was amazed at how much I loved Captain America—I had expected to find him a boring boy scout like Superman, but he turned out to be pretty cool.

In my own stories, I have found that the difference between an anti-hero and a straight-up hero is their backstory.  Usually, something broke them and made them go dark.  People have said, ad nauseum, that the fact that these fictional characters had awful childhoods does not excuse the fact that they’re awful adults.

Well, no.  But it does explain why they are the way they are.  Most characters need an origin story.  History is not an excuse.  It’s a reason.  We are inescapably shaped by our experiences.

People complain that after six seasons, Don Draper is still the same fucked-up guy pulling the same, fucked-up shit.  Why doesn’t he move forward?

Well, change is hard ya’ll.  I don’t understand why people look for redemption in these characters.  Sometimes there isn’t any to be found because often, people don’t change.  Some of them even get worse.

Like in life.  Which is the point.

If you’re looking for sheer escapism, choose your material carefully.  Not all of it’s entertainment—some of it is art.  And sometimes, it’s the job of art to make us uncomfortable.  That’s why it’s sometimes called provocative—it provokes.  If you want light and foamy, stick to your fucking-close-to-water beer.  Sometimes, the rest of us need something dark and full-bodied.

 

 

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If you are writing a book or you have written a document
where you want to add headers, footers & page numbers BUT you don’t
want the headers, footers and page numbers to show on your title and copyright
pages, these are the steps that I learned on how to do this.
1) Open your Microsoft Word 2010 document.
2) Select The “Home” tab, click on the “Show / Hide” button circled below. You need
it set to show all of your spaces, formatting and page breaks.

 

 

I highlighted below the items that will show when you click
the “Show/Hide” button.

 

3) In the image below I circled where I put my pointer. What
I am doing on the screen is I am placing my pointer where I want to add a “Section Break”. A section break divides your document into sections. So in my
document I want a “Section Break” there because in my second section is where I
want my Headers and Footers to start and I want my page numbers to display. I
don’t want headers, footers and page numbers to display on my title and
copyright pages.
4) Click “Page Layout” tab circled below.
5) Click “Breaks” button circled below.
6) In the “Breaks” menu, click “Next Page” highlighted in
the image below.
I highlighted the Section break below that was added to the
document once you complete the step. Note when I started I had a “Page Break”
and so I have just deleted my “Page Break” since it is no longer needed for the
page in the image.
I have divided my document into two sections and now I want
to add headers, footers and page numbers to my second section.
7) Click “Insert” tab as you see in the image below then
select, “Header”, a drop down menu appears as seen in the image below and
choose a format you want. (I selected the first option & centered my text afterwards)
8) When you complete the previous step a “Design” tab will
open, see below image, highlighted in green. Also, look at the image noting
that my title page shows the Header as “Section 1” and on my Chapter 1 page,
the header shows as “Section 2”. I want to leave my “Section 1” header blank
and add text to the “Section 2” header.
9) Place your pointer into “Section 2” Header and type the
text that you want. I entered “C.R. Misty” and then centered the text. Note:
that in the image below the highlight “Link to Previous” Make sure that this is
NOT selected because what it will do is put your “Section 2” Header text
into “Section 1”.
10) My document in the images is a book that I wrote and I
wanted different headers on the odd and even pages. Make sure that you check “Different
Odd & Even Pages” highlighted below and again when you put your odd and
even headers in double check that “Link to Previous” is NOT selected.
At this point, you have now created two Sections and you
have added odd and even Headers to “Section 2” of your document. Next is adding
Page numbers.
11) Put your pointer where you want your page numbers to
start. In the image below, I put my pointer in “Even Page Footer Section 2”
& while still on the “Design” Tab, select “Page Numbers” button then select
“Current Position”. In my document, it added the page number 4 and the
following “Even Page Footer Section 2” followed suit with page numbers (6, 8,
10, 12 etc) Note: Again make sure “Link to Previous” is NOT selected.
12) Repeat step 11 for the odd numbers by clicking in “Odd
Page Footer Section 2”
Once you are done adding your Headers, Footers & Page
numbers you can uncheck the “Show/Hide” button to see what your work looks
like. I have included a couple of images below to show you what my document
looks like after completing the above steps.
In the image below note that my two top pages have no
numbering because I sectioned it off. That is my “Section 1”. The bottom left
pages is also a title page and you can see there is no header. My Header starts
in “Section 2”, which is Chapter 1 of my document.
The second image below is scrolled down partway so that you can
see my page numbers. Page 4 starts on my Chapter 1 page.
Now you should  be a
pro at this!

 

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