Friday, February 8, 2013

Michael Clarke Duncan and The Bear Archetype

I can remember when I learned of Michael Clarke Duncan's death. I didn't follow celebrities, but I couldn't pretend that his death didn't affect me. I was hurt. I actually cared about a person who I never met and would never know. I started digging to find out as much as I could about this man. I actually started to feel grateful the celebrity gossip rags for bringing all this information to me. For the first time I understood the obsession that is People and Us magazine. I often ridiculed them, but now I was turning to their reporting to learn everything I could about this man.

Maybe it's because there aren't many celebrities like Duncan that I never formed any attachments to movie stars before. I'm obviously into big guys and the media just wasn't offering up the people that interested me.


It may have been the first step to creating this blog. I had to get knocked back on my ass to realize just how important media figures can become in our lives. In order for me to write about it I had to take it seriously. What I'm discovering is while there'll never be another Michael Clarke Duncan, there are plenty of bears in the media. I just have to go in search of them.

Duncan hit on my radar like most of the world when he stared in The Green Mile for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. But even before I knew his name he was a fantasy of mine. Sometimes people just fill an archetype in your mind. I made up people. I guess that's why I'm a writer, -but I think a lot of people do this. It may not be in as much detail or as frequent, but with all the want-to- be writers out there I can't imagine I'm alone in creating narratives and characters in my mind.  Then he was in the action flick Armageddon. His name in the movie was Bear and ever since I knew that my imagination was far more powerful than I knew.

The fact is actors are hired to fill the roles of these imaginary people that float around in our heads. Some of us will write stories about them, but most of us will only consume these stories. I know it's just entertainment, but creating narratives is what our mind does. It's not a frivolous thing. Entertainment is important work. It enriches our imagination and ultimately our lives. I may have never met Michael Clarke Duncan, and now of course I never will, but there's no way that I can say that he wasn't part of my inner life. In fact he was a very important part of my life as a whole. So when he died I morned him just as I would any person who was important to me.

What I learned from reading about his life in the tabloids was that I wasn't mourning the man. I didn't know anything about him at all. And the more I learned the less his death hurt. There were always big guys in movies, but they would come and go and I never thought it was worth learning their names. Duncan proved an exception and became a superstar. There will be other actors and celebrities that will fill those archetypes in my head. I'll still miss Duncan. It made me realize It was a mistake to write off all of the other big guys I saw in the media. I realize that now and am trying to make up for my ignorance by bringing to you and myself the kind of men we want to see. I'm hoping that by bringing attention to them they will be more prevalent in the media. I think that's why I put so much work into this blog, because it is important.
















MALCOLM TRAVERS
Male Media Mind