I'm not a native english-speaker but I would evaluate my level of english proficiency as being at least somewhat decent. However, there are still a number of ambiguities that arise from usage of colloquial language that isn't wholly consistent in meaning from person to person that I'm not always able to grasp fully. An example of this is, in my mind, the transitive verb phrase "to relate to". I get that it generally means to feel that you have a connection to something by having experienced or at least having heard from someone you empathize with something similar to what is talked about at some point in your lifetime, but I often see people on the internet use an overly narrow definition of that when discussing media.
For example, you often hear people claim they couldn't relate to a piece of fiction because the main characters did not share their race, religion, ethnicity, cultural viewpoint, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. Is it impossible for such people to identify with anything in a piece of fiction starring characters that are not sufficiently similar to them in some arbitrary respect (especially race or sex), despite the work in question focusing on issues and personal struggles that are universal to the human condition, which in my view is the kind of story most worth telling? An (admittedly) extreme example of that would be a hypothetical, black, female, cancer-stricken chemistry teacher with a disabled son, anger management issues and a nearly unrivalled knowledge of crystallography not being able to relate to anything in Breaking Bad purely due to the main character's sex and/or race.
Isn't part of consuming fiction (at least in an ideal world) being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes in order to see the world from a different perspective and subsequently being culturally enlightened by this? Or maybe I'm simply misinterpreting what people mean when they say "I couldn't relate to it because of this and that", it merely being a matter of what
specifically they couldn't relate to. That being said, I still can't escape the creeping suspicion that certain people are missing out on a fair bit of good content due to the inability of some to empathize with people who belong to a social sphere outside of what they're used to fraternizing with on a daily basis, which, if you're wondering, I think applies equally to all races (looord, how I utterly despise
that word), sexes, social classes, religions, nationalities, ethno-cultural groups, subcultures etc.
I implore you to not make this thread about Breaking Bad; I'm still watching and loving the show and I don't want to risk being exposed to spoilers of any kind, even extremely minor ones.
edited 10th Mar '14 6:40:47 PM by HeinousHeathenHedonist