It was reported earlier this month that Lindsay Lohan announced she would sue Grand Theft Auto V‘s creators and publisher for using her likeness in their game without her express permission and without paying compensation to her for using her likeness. At the heart of this claim is Lindsay Lohan’s belief that the very toned young woman in the white lined red bikini who is holding a cellphone and taking a selfie is actually a virtual version of herself.
Oddly enough, fans of Grand Theft Auto V had mentioned that the virtual person in question looks like Chuck/Dexter actress, Yvonne Strahovski while others have said that they feel the virtual person in question looks like model, Candice Swanepoel, and yet others have stated they are certain that the virtual person in question is a dead ringer for swimsuit model, Kate Upton, or that other blonde model, Shelby Wilinder.
What’s more, Lindsay Lohan claims that some of the game based sequences are ripped from real life situations that happened in her own life.
I can’t say one way or another if the virtual person in GTAV is or isn’t Lindsay Lohan. I don’t play the game, and I don’t know Lindsay Lohan personally. But what I can say is that I have known, and heard of, other people making similar claims about characters in books and short stories.
When I published “Glass On A Stick” back in the summer of 2012, the Title Page clearly stated:
And on the Copyright Notice page, it clearly stated:
I have been told repeatedly that a small handful of autism advocates, autism activists, autism campaigners, and autism warriors have been alleging over the months that this character or that character in my book is a thinly veiled version of them in real life without giving any explanation for why they feel that way. Some have even gone as far as to speak badly about the book in social media status updates and blog articles on a number of blog sites, running with their skewed perceptions that certain fictional characters in the book (according to them) are obviously (in their opinion) them.
Perhaps they missed the part of my book that clearly states that “Glass On A Stick” is a work of fiction.
But what these autism advocates, autism activists, autism campaigners, and autism warriors seem to have overlooked — either by choice or by omission — is that there are others (who aren’t involved with the autism community) who also believe they were included into the storyline.
One neighbor I didn’t know other than by sight, stopped by to talk with me after having read my book. He was pleased to see that (according to him) the character of Roy was clearly (in his opinion) based on him, and he wanted to know how I knew about his first job as a teen (I didn’t). Another neighbor I knew somewhat better, also dropped by to talk about the character named Roy, and was tickled pink that the character (according to him) was quite obviously based on him (in his opinion) since he and Roy were both helpful, friendly men of a certain age. And yet another neighbor who ran into me at the local mall said he knew (according to him) that Roy was based on him (in his opinion) because, like Roy, he had gotten a beaten-up Ford pick-up truck from a farmer once and tried to fix it up to reflect its former glory.
Stories — regardless of who writes them — resonate with readers to varying degrees because they are a reflection of real situations they have either experienced or that they have heard others experienced. It’s called the human experience, and being humans, we all experience various aspects of the human experience as we make our way through life.
While it’s a fact that authors create characters based on the human experience they have either observed or been through themselves, when people react negatively to a character or storyline and falsely allege that it’s obviously all about them, they need to step back and realize they aren’t the belly button of the universe. There’s a reason why the word doppelgänger is in the dictionary, and it has nothing to do with them specifically.
Keep in mind at all times, dear readers, that if a character resonates with you, it’s because you recognize the human experience within that character … not because the character is someone you know or have heard speak of over the years. Let me share an example with you from Chapter 19 in my book “Glass On A Stick.”
Spending that many hours with strangers afforded Doug a lot of free time, and he filled it as best he could by acting out all sorts of adventures that were rattling about in his head. He remembered this one time when he was about five years old, when the babysitter was busy hanging the wash outside and he decided he was going to crash his Matchbox cars into the wall in the hallway. He liked watching his cars careen down the hallway, and he was never too sure when they would spin out of control and bang into the walls on either side. He imagined himself to be the Richard Petty of Matchbox car racing even if he was only racing against himself. He remembered that the last time he’d done that, the babysitter had chewed him out for damaging the long wooden slats that ran along the walls. She had yelled at him for what seemed like hours to him about something on the walls that belonged to someone named Wayne, and it wasn’t until he was an adult that he realized that she’d been upset over the damage he’d done to the wainscoting.
In any case, he remembered that he didn’t want to get her upset with him again, and so he’d come up with the idea that if he lined the walls with rolls of toilet paper, the cars would crash into the toilet paper instead of against the walls. Once he was done playing with the cars, he could return the toilet paper to where it came from and no one would know that they had been used as crash barriers. He thought the babysitter probably kept the toilet paper in the closet by the bathroom with the towels like his dad did at their house, and so he ran to the end of the hallway and opened the closet door right beside the babysitter’s bathroom. He found toilet paper all right, but not enough to make crash barriers on both sides of the hallway. And then, right behind all those rolls of toilet paper, he found a box he’d never seen before.
He tore it open and found packages … long packages that had something soft inside them. Tearing one package open, he found a rectangular shaped pad that was soft like toilet paper and smelled pretty, like the baby powder his mom used to put on his baby sister when she changed her diapers. He turned the pad over and found a strip of paper on the other side. He peeled back the corner and touched it with his index finger. It was sticky! His mind had quickly determined that if it was sticky, it would stick to the wall, and if it stuck to the wall, this was even better than toilet paper, that might move if a car hit it. He divided the contents of the box into two separate piles and counted them, excited to learn that there were as many in one pile as in the other.
Doug ripped the packages open excitedly, and laid them out along both sides of the hallway to see how far they would reach. Since he rarely crashed his cars at the beginning of the race, he decided to line the packages up from the bathroom back down to his Matchbox car starting line. He could reach two-thirds of the way down the hallway! He decided it was best to set up the barrier one pad at a time and with that, he carefully and methodically pulled the strip off the back of one pad, stuck it securely to the wall where it met the floor, stripped off the back of the next pad, stuck it after the first one, and so on. So he wouldn’t be accused of having made a mess, he put the strips of paper and the packaging the pads were wrapped in back in the box and put the box on the counter in the kitchen so he could replace the pads and have them for the next time he’d bring his Matchbox cars over to the babysitter’s house. With that, he hurried back to the starting line and began to race his cars again, except this time, he felt compelled to crash them into these new-fangled crash barriers as hard as possible to see if they would stand up to the speed and force one could expect from authentic die-cast high-speed racing cars.
He had run maybe three or four races by the time the babysitter came back inside. He hadn’t heard her admonishing the dog outside for getting in her way as she juggled the laundry basket and tried to open the sliding glass door, nor had he heard the sliding glass door open. What he did hear was an ear-piercing scream and the plastic thump of the laundry basket falling to the floor, along with the odd sound the folded laundry made as it spilled out across the kitchen floor. She slapped Doug hard in the back of the head and his head bounced off one of the walls. Tears welled up in his eyes as she began tearing the barriers off the wall, more because she was destroying his racing track design than because his head smarted. And Mrs. Sanchez, a mix of horror, shock, anger and upset, hurried down the hallway, ripping pads off the wall, crying, “¡Ay, Madre de Dios!” and “¡Estupido!” and other things Doug didn’t understand. At the end of the hallway, and having ripped nearly all the barriers off the wall, she turned back to Doug and shouted, “You are a very bad boy! I’m going to tell your papa what you did to my house!”
At one point, we were all children and as children, we all saw things through innocent eyes, not knowing how certain things were to be used. Anyone who experienced the 60s or 70s will tell you that feminine hygiene products weren’t something as readily talked about back then as they seem to be these days. So if you or one of your siblings or one of your friends or one of your friend’s siblings did something like the character of Doug describes in Chapter 19 of “Glass On A Stick,” it’s because there were lots of similar instances to that one going on in homes across the country and around the globe.
With that, I wish all my fans a wonderful holiday season and see you next Sunday when I post another ARTS related article to the Elyse Bruce blog.
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