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

Nerdspringer: While I agree with this trope in general as a reader or viewer is supposed to briefly pretend the story 'really happened,' an exception probably can be made regarding stories written in the distant past, before the development of modern science. For instance, in the works of Homer, it can be assumed that the world is flat and there is no such thing as gravity or that in The Divine Comedy, the world is less than six thousand years old and the great pyramids were made well after 2400 B.C. (when the Great Flood was supposed to have occurred). Granted, no one's mind works the same way, but I still think we should be aware of the original author's paradigm.

One counterargument would be that when watching an old movie made well before the Civil Rights era, it would be wrong to believe that blacks are mostly mentally inferior to whites even when shown on screen. Personally, I think that it is ultimately up to the audience to decide.

arromdee: I'd say that that is true. You need to assume the original author's version of reality in order to watch the story as a story.

Examples like stories with inferior blacks don't contradict this. If you wanted to watch it as a story, you would have to assume that blacks are inferior; the fact that you can't assume this just means that watching it as a story is impossible.

arromdee: I don't agree with the one example here. The England example is from Star Wars. Star Wars, being set "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" doesn't have anything like modern Earth geography, so "England" can't really be England. This isn't an aversion of the trope, it's a specific situation (geography) where the series is unlike reality and doesn't generalize. For instance, it would be stupid to say "nobody mentioned an incest taboo in Star Wars, so we should not assume incest is unacceptable unless we are told so".

Stargate is an even worse example. Stargate assumes Like Reality Unless Noted more than just about any other space opera show, simply because it's set in the modern world with a good helping of Plausible Deniability. If you go to its Wiki and look up, say, Egypt, it doesn't list non-Stargate facts about Egypt, but that's not because they aren't assumed to be true in that universe--it's just that giving such facts doesn't fit the purpose of the wiki.