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Badass Normals and Why we love them so.:
First off what is Badass Normal? A Badass Normal is Normal human or non-human with physical and mental capabilities. Within in the spectrum of ability exhibited by real world earth humans, though usually at the upper end of that spectrum. Who survive if not thrive in a world where beings in possession of truly superhuman abilities exist. Badass normals are so beloved because they stroke the Human Ego. Unless there are superhumans living on earth incognito like many works of fiction postulate. Then Every one of us is a baseline human. No matter how benevolent and well meaning a Superhuman is they are an affront to human pride. By simply existing A superhuman says that we baseline humans are not good enough to achieve something; and that no matter how hard we work or how well we prepare that we will never measure up. The Badass Normal looks at the Superhuman and says "F*ck You!". Also many Superhumans in fiction are born into the world with their abilities. An allusion intended or not to a concept largely rejected by western society, American in particular;The Chosen Elite. Having grown up our entire lives being told that "all men are created equal" and "everyone is special in their own way" and"anything can be achieved through hard work an dedication". The Idea that some people are born into to the world better than others; is something that is going to just tick people off. The truth of matter lies between the two. Talent(inborn ability) and Skill(acquired capability) feed into one another. Talent without training is useless and you can't be trained to proficiency in a Skill without Talent in that Skills required areas. And to a degree Sufficient Skill can compensate for a lack of Talent, however there is a limit to this. In the wide worlds of fiction things are a little different. Talent and Skill are often treated as interdependent of one another. And a consequence of this independence is that Skill can completely to compensate for a lack Talent. Thus the Common Man(Badass Normal) triumphs over the The Chosen Elite(Superhuman). Lastly is the Self-Made man a figure respected by all and viewed with near religious reverence in my country the USA by both the Left and Right albeit differently. It's easy to see why the the Self-Made man is such a respected icon. He was not born more Talented than anyone else. He was given no favors nor did he for ask any. And yet he still succeeds achieving greatness solely through the means available to all men, if only they had the will to use them. The Badass Normal is seen as synonyms with the Self Made Man. Superhumans succeed because they operate on a level beyond normal men. Badass Normals succeed while still being, well normal men. Thus Badass Normals are perceived to be the greater heroes because they succeed through humble(human)means. while Superhumans do not and are often useless when deprived of what ever it is that makes them Super. Ultimately it goes back to Human Ego and Human spirit. Humans are stubborn willful and proud, it is highly insulting to say that being human is not enough to accomplish something. That their is something better than what humanity is right now and that to succeed we should go off and become this better thing. And if may go off on a tangent, Human pride is the reason why Transhumanism is often portrayed negatively in fiction...despite the perfectly logical idea to use science to improve the human condition. The instinctive response of most humans when told that they aren't good enough isn't"okay your right i am inferior let me go do what ever i can to improve my self". The response is"f*ck you, f*ck your parents, f*ck your cloths, f*ck the vehicle that you used to get here! You think I'm not good enough well f*ck you! I'll succeed as myself and if myself isn't good enough? I'll succeed anyway!" That attitude is seen as being embodied in the Badass Normal and that is why people love them! I would be remiss if I failed to mention that many Badass Normals have a dirty little secret?
edited 17th Apr '12 9:57:15 AM by Fomar
Accelolita's ButlerWhat I like about Badass Normals the most is that they can become Mage Killers who can punch out Physical Gods with enough training, strength, skill, and the right tactics if done correctly. There's a reason why everybody loves The Goddamn Batman.
Fuzzy Orange DoomsayerI think most fiction about superhuman heroes promotes the idea that if you (as in the literal you) are not superhuman, you can't become a hero. Ookla the Mok's "My Secret Origin" is a good example of someone buying into this, whining about how they'll never "grow up to be Luke Skywalker" when they could easily have grown up to be a soldier or a police officer. In that sense, the Badass Normal is inspirational.
edited 17th Apr '12 1:12:32 PM by feotakahari
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Accelolita's ButlerSuperpowered heroes do inspire us to do awesome things. But what separates superheroes from Badass Normals is that the former believes that with great power comes great responsibility, while the latter believes that you don't need superpowers to do awesome things. Superheroes often have the burden of trying not to use their powers for extracurricular activities, but the Badass Normal doesn't have that kind of burden. However, he needs to work harder to beat superpowered foes. I believe that some people in law enforcement were inspired by comic book superheroes. Of course, they don't have superpowers, but the superheroes' heroic deeds make them realize they can do awesome things even without them.
edited 18th Apr '12 2:24:39 AM by judasmartel
Raven WilderI don't dislike Badass Normals, but I do hate it when a story tries to make a point about how people without special abilities can be just as useful as people without. Why? Because the author gets to decide what special abilities exist in their story. If a Badass Normal can, through martial arts training and weapons expertise, defeat superpowered vampires in combat, that's only because the author gave their vampires a low enough Super Weight to make that possible. Similarly, if our clever hero outwits the Physical God aliens, it's only because, despite all their other reality warping powers, the author didn't make the aliens able to read minds, which would've let them know about and stop the hero's plan before it even got started. It's not that having supernatural beings who can still be challenged by (relatively) ordinary humans is a bad thing. Far from it. I just don't like it when the narrative acts like this proves some point about how awesome human beings can be, since all conflicts in the story are ultimately rigged by the author.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer^ I'm inclined to disagree on that, because there are so many ways a human with no supernatural powers can defeat someone or something that if you've created a character that can avoid every single one of them, it's almost certainly a Mary Sue. (Of course, there are also plenty of ways a human with no supernatural powers can beat another human with no supernatural powers, so it's pretty plausible for a supernaturally powered being to beat a human, or even for a being far weaker than a human to beat a human. It all comes down to context.)
edited 18th Apr '12 4:22:46 AM by feotakahari
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Wonderful to the GODDAMN future!!!This thread is also in the Yack Fest Section, so I'm taking my answer from there and putting it here:
I think you've hit the nail on the head to some extent. Although there might be others who can refute your claims. Also, many superhumans in fiction greatly respect the Bad Ass Normal for keeping pace with them despite not having powers of any sort. Perhaps recognizing that a man who reached such a plateau through pure skill is worthy of such respect.I do think that sometimes, this leads to treating superpowered characters as Automatic Smug Supers, when they are anything but. Supers can respect normals, but Normals might actually greatly resent supers and think they are nothing without their powers. There can be a bit of a Double Standard there.
Accelolita's ButlerThere's the adage that says, "If you can't beat them, join them". If you want a better approach to the Badass Normal, take Prince of Tennis for example. Takashi Kawamura only has Super Strength while his peers are basically superpowered tennis players. And yet these very good players tell him they're envious of his Super Strength. Because, well, if you add Super Strength to each of their skill sets, well, yeah. In the same vein, the Badass Normal may not think he's special because he doesn't have any superpowers, but his superpowered allies actually respect him because he can do awesome things without any superpowers. Maybe it's because some superheroes have grown too dependent on their powers that they can no longer do squat without them. And let's not start on the superhero burden of trying hard to not use their powers on anything outside of their sworn duty. The Badass Normal doesn't have that kind of burden, which is probably one reason why supers envy them. Although, there might be reasons why Badass Normals are often assigned as Mission Control (especially if said normal is The Smart Guy) or deployed in specific missions such as when Monster of the Week can disable superpowers, and it's up to the Badass Normal to defeat it because, well, there's no superpower to disable. Take for example, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. So the Big Bad has disabled our hero espers with Capacity Down. Who saved their asses? Saten with a baseball bat.
edited 19th Apr '12 7:52:47 PM by judasmartel
The Dirty Secret of Badass Normals is that...many of them aren't normal at all. I know that this going to be hard for some of you to hear and accept but it's the honest to Flying Spaghetti Monster Truth. Many so called Badass Normals are in fact functionally superhuman, though no one in-universe ever seems to notice this. In settings where it's explicitly possible to train ones self until reaching a superhuman level of ability, this is not an issue. So why dose the Superhuman In all But Name phenomena Occur, because it's the easy way out of a narrative problem. No matter how well trained are and conditioned there some things that human body simply can not do reliably or at all. The odds of defeating an opponent in a direct confrontation decrease as the gap between your physical capabilities increases. The Best trained Fighter on earth could not go toe to toe with a being that was physically Superhuman. I know this, you know this, the Authors of the world all know this. Yet the Super Human In All But Name phenomena precisest. There is a very good reason for that;and to get that we need to look at the ways to deal with a super human threat. 1. Fight dirty! In fair fight the worst Superhuman will beat the best Normal human. So this begs the question, why bother fighting fair? Trickery, Superior Numbers, and guns lots and lots of guns. Can level the playing field. This is not used as often as it should be. Because cheating your way to victory simply isn't Heroic. A Hero is supposed to triumph over their foes in glorious combat. If the Hero can't beat the enemy on their own term...then the enemy really was Superior to the Hero. And that's a little unsettling to the Human Ego. 2. Recognizing the fact that A Normal Human can't out fight a Super Human. Have Your hero become [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BadassAbnormal Superhuman]]. Despite the logic of a Normal Human seeking superpowers of their own when faced with a Superhuman threat. This doesn't happen that often. Why not? Human Pride. Part of the reason to have a normal human hero is to give the audience someone to readily identify with. And show that human will and human means can overcome anything;all logic to the contrary. Thus hero is more likely to find away to circumvent or neutralize the superhuman qualities of an enemy, rather than attain superhuman qualities themselves. Because the implicationis that a if the Hero had to become more than human to win. Than the Enemy was truly superior. 3.CHEAT! A hero needs superhuman human abilities to face a superhuman threat on an even footing. However if a normal hero must resort to superpowers to win than they enemy is truly superior, because they could not be overcome by human means. The Solution is to the hero superpowers and not mention that you(the author)did. Also have no one in-story notice the fact the hero is now functioning as though they were superhuman. as long as there is a flimsy justificationthe audience will ignore this narrative glitch(not quite a plot whole) of how a normal human is fighting on par with super humans;because it satisfies the human ego. The most famous example of the Superhuman In all but name phenomenon is The Goddamn Batman! Though it dose apply to rest of the Bat Family;The Bat Girls, The Robins, Nightwing. Many of the "normal" comic book heroes and villains are part of this phenomenon as well. The most recent manifestation of the phenomenon was in the protagonist of Gundam Ages second generation Asem Asuno. After a pep talk from his dying mentor Asem gained the ability to fight on par with X-Rounders. Who are shown to have reaction time far faster than normal humans as product of their Combat Clairvoyance. Though many commented on how well Asem was fighting absolutely nobody asked the question of how his reflexes were suddenly enough that he could out fight X-Rounders.
edited 15th May '12 7:50:43 AM by Fomar
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