Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Working Title: AngstAversion: From YKTTW

The Dad- This entire page comes across as thinly-disguised hatchet job over people who are weary of the Tearjerker and Death by Newbery Medal tropes that seem ubiquitous in so-called 'Good Writing'. Can't it be rewritten to be more objective?

Rothul: More objective in what way? I tried hard to keep it balanced between two main points 1. It's okay to stay away from a work because you think it will be depressing... 2. But you might needlessly miss out on some good media because of it. Both of these deserve a place in the page, I think. I admit I have no sympathy for authors who engage in angst for angst sake (and indeed it appears way too often), but also I think it's wrong to (for instance) reject Hamlet because you hear it ends poorly for nearly everyone involved. In any case, I wrote it as a general pastiche of my earlier Hype Aversion page. Other troper thoughts?

The Dad- 'you may miss out on good media' is essentially a meaningless statement. You 'may' miss out on good media if you don't like violence, sex, or religious commentary but there aren't people complaining about those fans. 'This has something in it you fundamentally don't like, you're missing out on True Art!' seems to be a backhanded slam towards people who think that Angst tends to make a work worse. Angst and suffering is just something we tolerate to enjoy the rest of the fiction.

(Moved from Troper Tales Page, as while not quite appropriate for that page, I didn't want to just dismiss it with an edit... I assume it is from The Dad, though you might want to "Get Known"):

  • 'And some, at the far, far, (possibly hypothetical) end of the scale, will shut themselves off from all art that has any chance of being depressing at all, to the particular extreme of refusing at a certain point to view anything they haven't seen before. These people must miss out on a lot. ' They definitely don't miss out on the strawmen and false dichtomies though. I don't know anyone who avoids angst to not even wanting to watch, say, The Lion King, so I don't know why this is in here.

Rothul: Let me respond, point by point.

  • 1. The fact that you claim that the internet does not "give crap" to those who avoid movies with sex or violence in them, I feel, does not reflect most of the opinion of the internet... Indeed, I should think they give more crap to people who complain about violence or sex in films/video games/Cartoons etc. Albeit, it is because such people are the most likely to become Moral Guardians against The New Rock & Roll, and claim New Media Are Evil, thus depriving you of seeing said work, but I'm certain such self-made censors chafe more than any other group, let alone the Angst Averse... and remember, we live in a world where, for a long time, Shakespeare's endings were Bowdlerized into happy ones for years, and where The Diary of Anne Frank has been almost banned in schools for being "A Real Downer".
  • 2. To say that angst and suffering in a work is something one must tolerate in a work, to get at the parts they would otherwise enjoy, is a personal opinion, yes, and thus a subjective claim. I will not argue that it is not true for some works, and yes, many could be improved if the author had taken his Prozac the night before. Still, a blanket condemnation of the tragic by anyone is something I am not comfortable with, as it is one that flies in the face of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Hegel, and all the other great dramatic theorists who (generally) claim that tragedy serves a purpose (what that purpose is, varies on the philosophy, of course)... I think that it is important that a tragic mask hangs next to the comedic one. I think the opinion of the page is that it is fine to avoid angst you feel to be unneccesary, but be careful that it does not cloud your preferences to such an extent that you reject works ad hoc lest you be reduced to Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch. I do not think this is such a unreasonable position to stake out. What's more, I think most complaints about the angst averse are not that they don't like something, but that they refuse to try something, something of great quality, because of the strong emotions they might inspire.
  • 3. You claim that people who willingly shut themselves out from any new media is a straw man, but it is certainly one that I have a personal knowledge with (and indeed my experiences with her are one of the reasons I YKTTW this in the first place). Believe me when I say that it often takes a five minute argument to get her to watch an episode of The Simpsons she hasn't seen before (for fear it might be as sad at the "Homer's Mom" episodes), let alone anything else (and frankly, I do think Mufasa's death would cause her to freak out). Albeit this is the result of autistic tendencies and some pretty severe childhood trauma (which is why I didn't want to act as if I was certain this represented a trend), and I do not wish to imply that the angst averse are somehow deficient (the fact that I put my Troper Tale first, I hope, shows that, at the very least, I hope not), but it does represent an extreme I have indeed experienced, and not a false dichotomy.

Again, I am fine with changing the page, but I must defend the current tone (if only out of a sort of misbegotten pride), unless The Dad is not alone in his concerns. Might we have some other troper thoughts?