What's Happening

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


Justified in Mass Effect, well the Expanded Universe justifies the usage anyway. Kahlee Sanders notices that every single quarian looks exactly alike, and then when she thinks of it, nearly all members of alien races look identical. Then she notes that humans are beginning to follow the same trend, since in this universe, due to many interracial relationships, many humans are becoming more and more similar as all the races begin to mix together. She theorized that a couple hundred more years, humans will become Ditto Aliens.

I'm really tempted to add some sort of note that the portion I've bolded isn't how real-world inheritance works. If inheritance was just a matter of smooth blending of traits, rather than the shuffling of discrete alleles which can override each other or work together as the case may be, individual variation within races would have vanished long ago. For that matter, evolution itself wouldn't occur in such a universe. I'm thinking of just potholing it to Artistic License - Biology. Originally, I was going to add a sentence (not a line, but a sentence in the same paragraph):

But I decided that that would still be too nattery. So I'm asking you if my proposed edit, potholing to Artistic License - Biology, is acceptable, or if even that would pose a problem.
discussion moved in from YKTTW

LTR Somthing I've noticed, that may be too close to Planet of Hats but maybe not. Did you ever notice that when dealing with an alien race, even a friendly "non-hat" one, everyone is still pretty much the same?

By that, I mean alien races as depicted on TV lack even the slightest bits of cultural subtlety. Their race is uniform in it's speech, dress, religion, mores, and physical features no matter where on their planet you land. Randomly visiting 5 places on their home world will yield no regional dialects, no major racial differences in hair or skin color, no great differences in religion or economic status, and so forth. If you've seen one, you've seen them all.

Wondering if this is worth adding in somewhere

Andyroid: I've also noticed that alien societies on TV (and fiction in general) tend to be almost exclusively homogeneous (used here in the sociological sense, where everyone has the same cultural mores and such), and I think it's entry-worthy. I'd suggest Homogenized Aliens, but I've noticed it also applies to many "races" in fantasy (like dwarves and elves) as well.

Ununnilium: I have no ideas for a name, but the trope is a good idea.

Red Shoe: I don't know if it's really worth splitting, but it does seem that we've been using Planet of Hats to cover this (as, eg, in the comment about the Centauri under Aliens of London), so if we split, we ought to go through and be more specific under Planet of Hats.

BT The P: It also seems that, no matter how many planets and colonies a species spans, it always has a single governing authority, and any war between members of the same race is called a "civil war". Now that I think of it, almost all planet-spanning sci-fi seems to unite humanity under one government, with Firefly as the only exception I can think of, and even the Browncoats couldn't hold on to independence very long.

As to racial uniformity among aliens, Klingons from Star Trek have variable skin tone, and a variety of patterns for their forehead ridges. Then again, they are one of the oldest and most developed alien species on TV. Perhaps, after all, the hat of humanity is "diversity".

Looney Toons: The Klingons had a racial diversity in Star Trek: The Original Series, although it was the result of a rushed makeup director forgetting what he did the first time he used them — as a result there were light/swarthy and bifurcated eyebrows/unbifurcated eyebrows differentiations among TOS Klingons afterwards.

Gus: I'll propose Culture Of Hats as a name... since Planet of Hats is just a flavor of Adventure Town, the Culture level seems to be a larger concept.

BT The P: I'd prefer not to crowd entries so close to each other in name. The most descriptive name I can come up with is Planetary Monoculture, but that's not funny enough. How about Ditto Aliens to describe the cookie-cutter physicality, and One World Order to describe the omni-govenments that show up in The Future?

LTR: Sounds good to me, Planet of Hats takes care of the one-culture-only facet, One World Order takes care of the one-government-only facet, and Ditto Aliens takes care of the one-race-only facet, maybe all 3 could be combined under a broader trope like Cookie Cutter Aliens ? (Throw in the Aliens speaking english as well)
Burai: Citing the Vulcans as a Ditto Alien seems to be really pushing it. Are people really in danger of mistaking, e.g. Spock for Sarek? Or T'pring for Saavik? Yeah, they all look similar ... in the specific ways that they're identifiably not human. But it's should be really difficult for Rubber-Forehead Aliens who are actually "one facial feature away from humanity" to be authentically Ditto Aliens. (The haircut is more a feature of their Planet of Hats status — if some Earth cultures (e.g. ancient Egypt) had become global, than humans would mostly have the same haircut too.)

And not to get too caustic, I hope, but citing the Andorians makes me wonder if people are even bothering to look Trek doesn't even require the antennae to go in the same place. Yes, all the ones we've seen are blue with white hair; that's not the same as "no diversity", it just means those traits aren't meaningfully diverse. Outer eye color, for instance, is pretty consistent in humans — to the extent that we actually call it "the white of the eye".

Ununnilium: Yeah. I'm pulling out all Rubber-Forehead Aliens. —-

Aroborean: One of the examples contained the phrase "an army of Jar Jar Binks". I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight after picturing that. *Shudder*.
Piearty: Okay...there is a HUGE wall of what I am positive is Natter at the bottom of the examples page...I don't trust myself to remove it...