History Main / ViewersareGeniuses

29th Jun '16 2:48:07 AM LinTaylor
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* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' has an example of this with an EasterEgg. Using the Cryptographic Sequencer, one can find three hidden radio frequencies, each of which has a computer voice reading off a sequence of numbers. The first is a standard "letter number" cypher (1 = A, 2 = B, etc); easy enough. The second is an inverted letter number cypher with all the numbers shifted up by 3 (4 = Z, 5 = Y, etc); a bit tougher, but a reasonably clever player could figure it out. The last, however, requires the player to run the numbers through '''three''' separate cyphers (letter number, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atbash Atbash]], and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigen%C3%A8re_cipher Vigenére]]), including guessing the keyword for the latter ([[spoiler:"Scarecrow"]]) to decrypt it. Put together, the three messages (plus the aforementioned keyword) make up a giant SequelHook teasing [[spoiler:Scarecrow being the BigBad of the next game, ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight'']]. The game's director Sefton Hill [[http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2014/03/26/batman-s-easter-egg-hunt.aspx said]] that he never thought anyone would crack the codes, only for it to happen about two weeks later.
2nd Jun '16 10:18:52 AM merotoker
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** Not to mention Schrödinger, who is based on a [[SchroedingersCat thought concept of quantum physics]] that baffles even those in the sciences from time to time. Many viewers may never have even heard of the concept, which the show doesn't explain in great detail, either.

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** Not to mention Schrödinger, who is based on a [[SchroedingersCat [[UsefulNotes/SchrodingersCat thought concept of quantum physics]] that baffles even those in the sciences from time to time. Many viewers may never have even heard of the concept, which the show doesn't explain in great detail, either.



** For a few examples: In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' The resolution of Saber's fight with Berserker is an absurd DeusExMachina unless you've read [[ArthurianLegend Malory]] and remember a few odd comments about how the magic system works from earlier in the story, and there's a couple of one-off lines in the Fate route that establish just how [[spoiler:Kotomine]] survives in Heaven's Feel, and in [[FateHollowAtaraxia Fate/Hollow/Ataraxia]] the only person who can beat [[spoiler:[[RogueProtagonist Bazett]]]] is [[spoiler:Lancer]] because of a few odd details about how their powers interact - [[spoiler: her invincible counterattack triggers when you start your attack; he [[RealityWarper starts his attack after he resolves it]].]]

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** For a few examples: In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' The resolution of Saber's fight with Berserker is an absurd DeusExMachina unless you've read [[ArthurianLegend [[Myth/KingArthur Malory]] and remember a few odd comments about how the magic system works from earlier in the story, and there's a couple of one-off lines in the Fate route that establish just how [[spoiler:Kotomine]] survives in Heaven's Feel, and in [[FateHollowAtaraxia Fate/Hollow/Ataraxia]] ''VisualNovel/FateHollowAtaraxia'' the only person who can beat [[spoiler:[[RogueProtagonist Bazett]]]] is [[spoiler:Lancer]] because of a few odd details about how their powers interact - [[spoiler: her invincible counterattack triggers when you start your attack; he [[RealityWarper starts his attack after he resolves it]].]]it]]]].



** It has [=Ryukishi07=] go on about the basics of Schroedinger's Cat, Raven Paradox, and Devil's Proof. He also makes lengthy articles about his philosophies of anti-mystery, cultural noise, and chessboard logic. And to top it off, he makes numerous references to famous mystery writers. However, his critics accuse him of not knowing what he's talking about, even when it comes to his own inventions.
** Counterargument: [[spoiler: Shkanonyasutrice. The Second or, possibly, the Third.]]

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** It has [=Ryukishi07=] go on about the basics of Schroedinger's Schrodinger's Cat, Raven Paradox, and Devil's Proof. He also makes lengthy articles about his philosophies of anti-mystery, cultural noise, and chessboard logic. And to top it off, he makes numerous references to famous mystery writers. However, his critics accuse him of not knowing what he's talking about, even when it comes to his own inventions.
** Counterargument: [[spoiler: Shkanonyasutrice. The Second or, possibly, the Third.]]Third]].



* ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'' has got a ''very'' subtile one when it comes to Ratigan's DisneyVillainDeath. His ''foot'' slides on the clock hand of ''Big Ben'' when ''10 p.m.'' strikes, causing him to fall to his death. You don't get it ? We can't blame you. A not very well-known outside of England fact is that at ''11 p.m.'', there is a little tune playing in Big Ben. An even lesser-known fact is that there are actually lyrics written for this tune. What are they ?

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* ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'' has got a ''very'' subtile subtle one when it comes to Ratigan's DisneyVillainDeath. His ''foot'' slides on the clock hand of ''Big Ben'' when ''10 p.m.'' strikes, causing him to fall to his death. You don't get it ? We can't blame you. A not very well-known outside of England fact is that at ''11 p.m.'', there is a little tune playing in Big Ben. An even lesser-known fact is that there are actually lyrics written for this tune. What are they ?



* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' novel ''Literature/CasinoRoyale'', when M complains to one of his underlings that the report the underling wrote has a French sentence without any translation.

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* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' novel ''Literature/CasinoRoyale'', when M complains to one of his underlings that the report the underling wrote has a French sentence without any translation.



* The description of the [[{{Precursors}} Xunca]] [[LostSuperweapon superweapon]] in ''Flinx Transcendent'', the final book in Creator/AlanDeanFoster's HumanxCommonwealth series, is likely to be incomprehensible to anyone without at least a basic grasp of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory string theory]].

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* The description of the [[{{Precursors}} Xunca]] [[LostSuperweapon superweapon]] in ''Flinx Transcendent'', the final book in Creator/AlanDeanFoster's HumanxCommonwealth ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' series, is likely to be incomprehensible to anyone without at least a basic grasp of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory string theory]].



* ''{{Series/Firefly}}'', "Objects In Space". Most blatantly the opening, but the whole thing is a philosophical statement on (one kind of) existentialism. Creator/JossWhedon's [[AllThereInTheManual DVD Commentary]] ''might'' help the viewer to get the point (that objects have the meaning that people choose to give them).

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* ''{{Series/Firefly}}'', "Objects In Space". Most blatantly the opening, but the whole thing is a philosophical statement on (one kind of) existentialism. Creator/JossWhedon's [[AllThereInTheManual DVD Commentary]] DVDCommentary ''might'' help the viewer to get the point (that objects have the meaning that people choose to give them).



** The ShinMegamiTensei franchise as a whole really [[ShownTheirWork does its research]] on world mythologies and religion. Your average player might be confused as to why Lucifer and Satan are two separate entities, and why you can find the latter chilling out with YHWH ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton the true name of God in Judaism]]) in ''Shin Megami Tensei 2''...unless they know or find out that in certain interpretations, Satan is a separate character who basically acts as [[GoodAngelBadAngel the devil on God's shoulder.]]

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** The ShinMegamiTensei Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei franchise as a whole really [[ShownTheirWork does its research]] on world mythologies and religion. Your average player might be confused as to why Lucifer and Satan are two separate entities, and why you can find the latter chilling out with YHWH ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton the true name of God in Judaism]]) in ''Shin Megami Tensei 2''...unless they know or find out that in certain interpretations, Satan is a separate character who basically acts as [[GoodAngelBadAngel the devil on God's shoulder.]]



** Rin's route is as much a mediation on the nature of genius, philosophy of art, and the question of whether or not it is truly possible for two people to understand one another (as well as whether it really matters), as it is an {{eroge}} love story.

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** Rin's route is as much a mediation on the nature of genius, philosophy of art, and the question of whether or not it is truly possible for two people to understand one another (as well as whether it really matters), as it is an {{eroge}} [[HGame eroge]] love story.



---> [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2001-01-23 Schlock fans get an A+. You are all far, far smarter than I gave you credit for.]]

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---> --> [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2001-01-23 Schlock fans get an A+. You are all far, far smarter than I gave you credit for.]]



** Although most of the time they will simply tell you to "[[{{RTFM}} LURK MOAR]]".

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** Although most of the time they will simply tell you to "[[{{RTFM}} "[[ReadTheFreakingManual LURK MOAR]]".



* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' takes this UptoEleven. It purposely leaves clues for its viewers to solve, sometimes years in advance. Some of the clues include [[CreativeClosingCredits cryptograms in the credits,]] backwards messages, and [[FreezeFrameBonus details hidden in the background.]] Creator Alex Hirsch has said that he did this so that if anyone was as weird as him, they would find what they're looking for.
** The best known example of this is when [[spoiler: Grunkle Stan rescued his twin brother, the author of the journals, from another dimension. Fans had guessed this twist nearly two years in advance of the episode's initial airing.]]

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* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' takes this UptoEleven.UpToEleven. It purposely leaves clues for its viewers to solve, sometimes years in advance. Some of the clues include [[CreativeClosingCredits cryptograms in the credits,]] backwards messages, and [[FreezeFrameBonus details hidden in the background.]] Creator Alex Hirsch has said that he did this so that if anyone was as weird as him, they would find what they're looking for.
** The best known example of this is when [[spoiler: Grunkle Stan rescued his twin brother, the author of the journals, from another dimension. Fans had guessed this twist nearly two years in advance of the episode's initial airing.]]airing]].
1st Jun '16 6:11:28 PM FordPrefect
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** Russo believes that "all viewers are Smarks," and as far as his opinion goes, a smark is a moron who believes they're a genius. If you think of his logic this way, his entire career is basically spend in a massive attempt to outsmart the smarks. Unfortunately, the only real way to trick people in a story where they usually already know, at the very least, half of what's going to happen before it happens is to make the story incomprehensible with obscurities and [[ShockingSwerve inexplicable plot twists.]]

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** Russo believes that "all viewers are Smarks," and as far as his opinion goes, a smark is a moron who believes they're a genius. If you think of his logic this way, his entire career is basically spend spent in a massive attempt to outsmart the smarks. Unfortunately, the only real way to trick people in a story where they usually already know, at the very least, half of what's going to happen before it happens is to make the story incomprehensible with obscurities and [[ShockingSwerve inexplicable plot twists.]]
21st May '16 4:10:29 AM CassandraLeo
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** Unsurprisingly, Zappa's classmate/[[VitriolicBestBusd sometimes-friend]]/protégé Music/CaptainBeefheart created music that was at least as incomprehensible as Zappa's, not merely for the fiendishly atonal music and complex arrangements but the often surreal lyrics that often seemed to be cases of WordSaladLyrics on the surface but often turned out to incorporate {{Mind Screw}}y metaphors about things like ecology and animal welfare. Unsurprisingly, commercial success was not forthcoming.

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** Unsurprisingly, Zappa's classmate/[[VitriolicBestBusd classmate/[[VitriolicBestBuds sometimes-friend]]/protégé Music/CaptainBeefheart created music that was at least as incomprehensible as Zappa's, not merely for the fiendishly atonal music and complex arrangements but the often surreal lyrics that often seemed to be cases of WordSaladLyrics on the surface but often turned out to incorporate {{Mind Screw}}y metaphors about things like ecology and animal welfare. Unsurprisingly, commercial success was not forthcoming.
19th May '16 11:46:16 PM dspeyer
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* ''Literature/Unsong'' is full of multilingual puzzles and puns, as well as obscure trivia, history, poetry and kabbalah references. It may have an excuse: before writing it, the author surveyed his fanbase and found an [[http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/11/04/2014-ssc-survey-results/ average IQ of 139]]. Nevertheless, he's been [[http://unsongbook.com/chapter-5-never-seek-to-tell-thy-love/#li-comment-704 disappointed]] in how many references people have missed.

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* ''Literature/Unsong'' ''Literature/{{Unsong}}'' is full of multilingual puzzles and puns, as well as obscure trivia, history, poetry and kabbalah references. It may have an excuse: before writing it, the author surveyed his fanbase and found an [[http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/11/04/2014-ssc-survey-results/ average IQ of 139]]. Nevertheless, he's been [[http://unsongbook.com/chapter-5-never-seek-to-tell-thy-love/#li-comment-704 disappointed]] in how many references people have missed.
19th May '16 11:45:12 PM dspeyer
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* ''Literature/Unsong'' is full of multilingual puzzles and puns, as well as obscure trivia, history, poetry and kabbalah references. It may have an excuse: before writing it, the author surveyed his fanbase and found an [[http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/11/04/2014-ssc-survey-results/ average IQ of 139]]. Nevertheless, he's been [[http://unsongbook.com/chapter-5-never-seek-to-tell-thy-love/#li-comment-704 disappointed]] in how many references people have missed.
10th May '16 2:33:50 PM CassandraLeo
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So you sit back and watch the ratings -- which plummet faster than a rocket propelled brick in a nosedive. What went wrong? In trying to avert making the classic mistake that ViewersAreMorons, you went too far and ended up assuming that they're ''geniuses'' instead. Of course, if you're working in a medium that doesn't need an audience of millions to be profitable, you may not care. While a lot less common than its more insulting opposite (any show without the "mass-market appeal" that the less high-brow stuff has will be ScrewedByTheNetwork without mercy), overestimating the audience can be more of a death knell than underestimating it, even without network sabotage. Remember that loading up your work with loads of obscure references solely for the sake of having them there is just pretentious. Just because your characters know who Derrida is does not make them interesting or your show any better than one that doesn't namedrop. Don't think your show/book/game is smart just because you're quoting smart people.

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So you sit back and watch the ratings -- which plummet faster than a rocket propelled rocket-propelled brick in a nosedive. What went wrong? In trying to avert making the classic mistake that ViewersAreMorons, you went too far and ended up assuming that they're ''geniuses'' instead. Of course, if you're working in a medium that doesn't need an audience of millions to be profitable, you may not care. While a lot less common than its more insulting opposite (any show without the "mass-market appeal" that the less high-brow stuff has will be ScrewedByTheNetwork without mercy), overestimating the audience can be more of a death knell than underestimating it, even without network sabotage. Remember that loading up your work with loads of obscure references solely for the sake of having them there is just pretentious. Just because your characters know who Derrida is does not make them interesting or your show any better than one that doesn't namedrop. Don't think your show/book/game is smart just because you're quoting smart people.



However, in the eyes of artists and some fans, this is a JustifiedTrope. There are many instances where a film with dense references and information provide an UnconventionalLearningExperience, introducing high concepts in a dramatic, entertaining fashion. This empowers readers and viewers and makes them interested and curious in exploring offbeat ideas that they otherwise might have felt they are not educated to understand and accept, since many of them have internalized the ViewersAreMorons ideas and reflexively feel some movies or books are not for them. For instance, Joseph Campbell's Heroic Journey concept was fairly obscure before Film/StarWars used a Heroic Journey plot, which brought the concept into the mainstream. There's also SocietyMarchesOn to consider. The number of people with college educations are higher today than they were say, in the 60s, so what used to be obscure becomes mainstream in the passing of time and indeed new genres and new storytelling techniques are created because audiences have become too smart for old plots and hackneyed cliches. In the case of some artists, the dense play of text and subtext for them is ''the'' reason why they make art in the first place and they set out to fill it with GeniusBonus and RewatchBonus so that audiences can immerse themselves in understanding the work fully.

Ironically, the reverse is also true. Artforms that we regard today as High Art like opera, classical music, poetry, and even Greek or Shakespearean tragedy were popular and commercial work in the day. Audiences across the class and educational spectrum had no trouble understanding and following these works. And indeed they were all filled with topical and common references that audiences had no trouble following.

It is this distinction which is why you see so much dissonance in understanding humor as a general topic. It is far easier for the LowestCommonDenominator to "get" a joke, if there is a [[ButtMonkey clear "butt"]] of the joke. However people who really follow humor aren't aiming to disparage people, but are instead in finding out the TwistEnding, or the {{Pun}}. Racist humor, gender humor, TooSoon humor is still humor - but many people won't find it "funny" because ''you have to think about it'', or ''have to have it explained''.

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However, in the eyes of artists and some fans, this is a JustifiedTrope. There are many instances where a film with dense references and information provide an UnconventionalLearningExperience, introducing high concepts in a dramatic, entertaining fashion. This empowers readers and viewers and makes them interested and curious in exploring offbeat ideas that they otherwise might have felt they are not educated to understand and accept, since many of them have internalized the ViewersAreMorons ideas and reflexively feel some movies or books are not for them. For instance, Joseph Campbell's [[TheHerosJourney Heroic Journey Journey]] concept was fairly obscure before Film/StarWars used a Heroic Journey plot, which brought the concept into the mainstream. There's also SocietyMarchesOn to consider. The number of people with college educations are higher today than they were were, say, in the 60s, TheSixties, so what used to be obscure becomes mainstream in the passing of time time, and indeed new genres and new storytelling techniques are created because audiences have become too smart for old plots and hackneyed cliches. clichés. In the case of some artists, the dense play of text and subtext for them is ''the'' reason why they make art in the first place place, and they set out to fill it with GeniusBonus {{Genius Bonus}}es and RewatchBonus {{Rewatch Bonus}}es so that audiences can immerse themselves in understanding the work fully.

Ironically, the reverse is also true. Artforms Art forms that we regard today as High Art like opera, classical music, poetry, and even Greek or Shakespearean tragedy were popular and commercial work in the day. Audiences across the class and educational spectrum had no trouble understanding and following these works. And indeed they were all filled with topical and common references that audiences had no trouble following.

It is this distinction which is why you see so much dissonance in understanding humor as a general topic. It is far easier for the LowestCommonDenominator to "get" a joke, if there is a [[ButtMonkey clear "butt"]] of the joke. However However, people who really follow humor aren't aiming to disparage people, but are instead in finding out the TwistEnding, or the {{Pun}}. Racist humor, gender humor, TooSoon humor is still humor - but many people won't find it "funny" because ''you have to think about it'', or ''have to have it explained''.



See also FauxSymbolism, MindScrew, and MoonLogicPuzzle. ''Not'' mutually exclusive with CriticalResearchFailure - just because a show is crammed with obscure knowledge doesn't mean that it is correct, [[SeriesContinuityError even when it comes from the show to begin with]]. This can be the result of too many [[InJoke in jokes]] being included in a work.

See also ViewersAreMorons, the opposite side of the coin. When this trope and the latter trope conflicts however, you can wind up with an UnpleasableFanbase.

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See also FauxSymbolism, MindScrew, and MoonLogicPuzzle. ''Not'' mutually exclusive with CriticalResearchFailure - just because a show is crammed with obscure knowledge doesn't mean that it is correct, [[SeriesContinuityError even when it comes from the show to begin with]]. This can be the result of too many [[InJoke in jokes]] {{In Joke}}s being included in a work.

See also ViewersAreMorons, the opposite side of the coin. When this trope and the latter trope conflicts conflict however, you can wind up with an UnpleasableFanbase.



* Steven Erikson's ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' is quite possibly one of the most complex works of fantasy ever written. The main storylines of the series span four continents, every one of the ten {{Doorstopper}} books has a [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters cast of hundreds]], and the series's backstory covers hundreds of thousands of years. Viewpoint characters constantly change; there is extensive and deliberate use of LostInMediasRes, obtuse in-world poetry used as chapter epigraphs, oblique dialogue, digressions as characters discuss or ponder philosophy, and complex prose. The first book ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', is infamously difficult for new readers to get into.
* Creator/LarryNiven expects his readers to be conversant in a basic level of physics. His character will occasionally mention some scientific principle, but will ''never'' explain that principle, or why its important to the story, because they (the characters) already know what it means. So when a character mentions it take six hours to get a message because of light-speed delay, or mentions the tidal differential of a ship in orbit around a neutron star, or starts talking about a thickened gas torus in high gravity rotational environment and it confuses you, Niven expects you to do the research and keep up.

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* Steven Erikson's ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' is quite possibly one of the most complex works of fantasy ever written. The main storylines of the series span four continents, every one of the ten {{Doorstopper}} books has a [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters cast of hundreds]], and the series's backstory covers hundreds of thousands of years. Viewpoint characters constantly change; there is extensive and deliberate use of LostInMediasRes, obtuse in-world poetry used as chapter epigraphs, oblique dialogue, digressions as characters discuss or ponder philosophy, and complex prose. The first book book, ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', is infamously difficult for new readers to get into.
into. This was done deliberately, as Erikson wanted to weed out readers without the patience to keep track of his vast numbers of characters and plot lines.
* Creator/LarryNiven expects his readers to be conversant in a basic level of physics. His character will occasionally mention some scientific principle, but will ''never'' explain that principle, or why its it's important to the story, because they (the characters) already know what it means. So when a character mentions it take takes six hours to get a message because of light-speed delay, or mentions the tidal differential of a ship in orbit around a neutron star, or starts talking about a thickened gas torus in high gravity rotational environment and it confuses you, Niven expects you to do the research and keep up.
10th May '16 2:24:11 PM CassandraLeo
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* William Gaddis' JR is a 700-plus page novel with no chapter stops that is almost entirely composed of conversational dialogue that is sometimes packed with financial jargon.

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* William Gaddis' JR ''JR'' is a 700-plus page novel with no chapter stops that is almost entirely composed of conversational dialogue that is sometimes packed with financial jargon. And it doesn't even tell you which character is speaking; you have to figure it out from context clues. ''A Frolic of His Own'', another {{doorstopper}}, is written in a similar style, and full of legal jargon.


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* Creator/KenKesey decided to write ''Sometimes a Great Notion'' fully in first-person. Fair enough. He decided to use multiple narrators. Also fair enough. He also decided never to explicitly tell a reader when the narrative point of view shifted. There are subtle clues, like a mention of the previous narrator in third person, but the reader has to do the work entirely for themselves. It's not as difficult as some of the other examples on this list, but it still counts.
10th May '16 2:20:44 PM CassandraLeo
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** Music/{{Gorguts}}, starting with ''Obscura'', are effectively the TechnicalDeathMetal version of Captain Beefheart (see below). To understand their music properly it helps to have a working knowledge of death metal, ProgressiveRock, AvantGardeMusic, twentieth-century ClassicalMusic, and several other genres. A thorough background in music theory won't hurt either. To understand their lyrics, it helps to have a detailed understanding of history and various forms of mythology. Even with those under your belt, most of their albums won't even begin to make sense until you've listened to them at least ten times.


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** Unsurprisingly, Zappa's classmate/[[VitriolicBestBusd sometimes-friend]]/protégé Music/CaptainBeefheart created music that was at least as incomprehensible as Zappa's, not merely for the fiendishly atonal music and complex arrangements but the often surreal lyrics that often seemed to be cases of WordSaladLyrics on the surface but often turned out to incorporate {{Mind Screw}}y metaphors about things like ecology and animal welfare. Unsurprisingly, commercial success was not forthcoming.
30th Apr '16 11:40:44 AM Sypolar
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* ''Anime/ConcreteRevolutioChoujinGensou'''s use of AnachronicOrder makes it difficult to follow the plot and characters through its timeline. Not only that, the show's timeline takes place in an AlternateHistory with each episode events playing out a specific event that occurred in post war Japan. Combined with its philosophies on Justice, specifically JusticeWillPrevail, and GreyAndGrayMorality, you can see how it ended up on this list.
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