I always find it neat when people agree with me in regards to how much fiction secretly shapes reality.
I *heart* Cracked. And Wong's articles are some of the best on there, IMHO.
I especially love *not* being told I'm wrong or stupid for my naturally/instinctively seeing life in what are essentially narrative patterns. In TV Tropes terms, I'm not sure I'm the "Hero" of my own story, more like a "Failure Hero" or even sometimes as drifting protagonist in a world of "Gray and Gray Morality" ... or just a plain out "Cloudcuckolander," especially for saying things like "Life is a narrative" that get people to look at me as crazy.
Of course, I've long thought that by being a fiction writer, I did my part to shape reality by increment (this is why I'm the Cloudcuckolander, people refuse to believe it). Of course, the *quality* of my stories may be suspect and I do have the problem with the "getting them out there where people read them." I have much less of this problem with my derivative works / fan fiction - I've actually been a pretty popular writer in a few fandoms, never Big Name Fan status, truly, but I've had a fair amount of followers at various points. I have messages that I seem to insert into my works often - "We all save each other" seems to be an arc-phrase of mine (I use it in a lot of Legend of Zelda fanworks in which I am writing a classic Hero character - I like to have Link acknowledge all the friends and shopkeepers and partners that help him be the Hero that he is). Horses... a lot of works of fiction do bad things with horses, perpetuating a kind of ignorance. No! In my works, if there are horses people are *very* concerned with getting them enough water. Also, they poop and if they haven't pooped in a while, the big BM is cause for celebration because that is the way of horses and horse-people in real life which I *do* have a working knowledge of. The "All Animals are Dogs" trope is one I like to avert, too, because... they're not....
I do a lot of things for aesthetics, though. I've had some people praise my work for realistic injuries / medical stuff (but this was for fan fiction in which I'm writing characters going through stitches, bandages and the like in healing in a canon-world where you find a fairy to heal you and you're fine because gameplay would be annoying if you actually had to take a month to heal from something). I am not a doctor, nor am I med student, so I'm sure my "realism" is just "I like gore sometimes."
So, yeah, even writers who try for a little realism now and again do *a lot* of artistic license - only, some of us realize it.