Don’t Need Another Hero ⚡
This article in Scientific American by Zeynep Tufekci brilliantly uses Game of Thrones‘ difficult translation to television to explain how its author, George R. R. Martin, understands “sociological storytelling” as very few screenwriters do. Martin treats all his characters as individuals who exist within social structures and historical contingencies that limit their possible actions and influence. Tufekci says we’re typically much more naive and idealize heroes, politicians, and industry leaders:
It’s reasonable, for example, for a corporation to ponder who would be the best CEO or COO, but it’s not reasonable for us to expect that we could take any one of those actors and replace them with another person and get dramatically different results without changing the structures, incentives and forces that shape how they and their companies act in this world.
(John Gruber made a similar point about Apple after Jony Ive‘s exit.)
Tufecki wants us to think more about how to build good teams and organizations — and the conditions that sustain them:
Well-run societies don’t need heroes, and the way to keep terrible impulses in check isn’t to dethrone antiheroes and replace them with good people.