Misused: Moral Event Horizon

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Not sure if here or special efforts is the place, but I'm going to be bringing up possible removal so I think it should start here. I used to think the misuse here was not quite as bad as Complete Monster, but now I'm beginning to think it's even worse.

Take, for example, the western animation page. The first subsection is for Simpsons examples, and even this serves as a better microcosm still. The winemakers making Bart drink wine with antifreeze in it is probably an example; given the shift from Kick the Son of a Bitch moments to indefensible moments. Using it for Burns trying to drown Bart is sort of pushing it; it's glossed over next time he's on the show IIRC, but it makes a bit of sense given the shock value at that point in time. But the rest of it seems littered with rants about characters' moments of acting like assholes, when, well, Simpsons characters being assholes seems to be the whole point of the show by now.

Though they are separate tropes and CM isn't implied by it, I think the misuse of MEH and CM seems to be driven by similar factors (shoehorning of any darker villainy than usual, regardless of trope definitions, etc...) and result in similar writing styles. (Natter galore!)

I'm beginning to think we may as well scrap MEH. I think that, like with CM, the misuse causes more of itself by giving users the wrong impression as to how it's done. Once that first impression has been left it's hard to counteract. This wasn't quite enough reason to scrap CM; and we've already poured so much effort into cleaning that up that perhaps it shouldn't be; but again, the misuse is even worse here, and on top of that, I don't think the trope has as much worth keeping about it. Categories of villains are (relatively) easier to distinguish and/or define than categories of actions taken by villains.

Alternatively we could suspend the editing privileges of those who add a lot of misuse, but of course if we go for that we'd have to set pretty clear criteria on when such suspensions are justified and when they aren't.

edited 20th May '12 7:34:34 PM by HiddenFacedMatt

"The Daily Show has to be right 100% of the time; FOX News only has to be right once." - Jon Stewart
I'd prefer to just suspend those who add blatant misuse. I see no reason to let them ruin it for the rest of us.

In addition, we could add some clearer criteria so there's less room to shoehorn in bad examples. One possible solution is to take away the YMMV tag and restrict this to actions that are treated by the work as a Moral Event Horizon. It wouldn't be the same thing as This Is Unforgivable!, as This Is Unforgivable! is specifically about characters calling out someone who's crossed the MEH. That can be one way a work shows that a character has crossed the MEH, but it isn't the only way.
^ That is basically what I hoped the trope would become, moments when you can actually see in the characters eyes when someone crossed the line. The "I can't believe that just happened" look. As it is now it is basically a listing of things that editors thought was out of line, I literally once removed an example that amounted to "He stole a couple bucks from a charity." Regardless, the trope is supposed to be about someone who is either Affably Evil or an Anti-Villain and they do something that pushes them into being an irredeemable bastard.
Avatars may be subject to change without notice.
I'd prefer to just suspend those who add blatant misuse.
On what basis do you decide "blatant," though? Again, it's important to set clear criteria on that sort of thing.
"The Daily Show has to be right 100% of the time; FOX News only has to be right once." - Jon Stewart
5 Spark921st May 2012 03:50:28 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Well, this page is really "Crowning Moment Of Evilness", so it should be no surprise that it suffers the same issues as all our other Crowning Moment pages.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
Avatars may be subject to change without notice.
[up] Moments pages may share its natter, but they don't share its misuse.
"The Daily Show has to be right 100% of the time; FOX News only has to be right once." - Jon Stewart
I'm for making this objective and emphasizing that this isn't Evil Moment Of Evil. Every example should describe how the work portrayed the character differently after the act rather than just describing how evil the act was. "X was a bit of a villain for years, but the show still portrayed him sympathetically from time to time - until he tried to blackmail Bob and bring down the company. Then he was an outright villain for the remainder of the show's run."
On what basis do you decide "blatant, " though? Again, it's important to set clear criteria on that sort of thing.
One clear criterion is that a character who crosses the MEH can Never Live It Down. If a character is forgiven by others in the work, that's blatant misuse as it's missing the entire point. By definition, once the MEH is crossed there is no going back. The act is unforgivable. An exception can be made in cases where Redemption Equals Death because those characters still satisfy the "never live it down" part.
[up]Redemption Equals Death contradicts the irredeemable part. To say they never lived it down is just semantic rationalisation that ignores the spirit of the trope to add a non-example.

Also, does it count if one character considers them forgivable? Just thought of the Nanoha example where Fate is fully capable of forgiving her mother, while it's not stated what anyone else would. I'd delete the example myself, but since the discussion about the definition is up...

edited 21st May '12 8:26:55 AM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
Yeah, Redemption Equals Death is a great way of showing that a character never really crossed the horizon.
It still fits the irreversible nature of it though. The character cannot go back to being a hero, or even a lesser villain. The character will be seen as a monster for the rest of his life. In the case of Redemption Equals Death, the character dies because any other attempt to atone will be flatly rejected by the other characters. The work will treat the character as unforgivable until that moment of death. In any case, I wouldn't treat these examples as straight examples but rather as subversions.
"Rest of life" and "until death" is an arbitrary standard. That definition just says the character won't redeem himself - until he does, and dies. On the other hand, if a character performs some sacrifice and dies but the narrative acts like he still doesn't redeem himself? That means he'd crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
13 32_Footsteps21st May 2012 09:42:40 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
@11 To put Roterie's comment in other words, there are no exceptions to the word "irredeemable". Nothing, not even a Heroic Sacrifice, can redeem them. While some of the other parts of the trope may be arguable, depending on personal philosophy on good versus evil, cultural issues, and the like, the lack of possibility for redemption is cut-and-dried.

edited 21st May '12 9:42:53 AM by 32_Footsteps

Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
A better way of putting it evil grin. Yes, however we end up wording this page's description, "irredeemable" is the key, inarguable component. Even more so than with Complete Monster.
I don't look at it as the character ever being truly redeemed. The way I see it, Redemption Equals Death shows that the final heroic act the character does still isn't enough to make up for crossing the MEH. That heroic act shows that he's changed, but he still has to pay for crossing the MEH, and nothing short of his life will suffice.

For me the point of Redemption Equals Death isn't "the character does something so heroic that now he's forgiven for whatever horrible thing he did". For me the point is "the character once did something so horrible that he must die for it, even if he does something heroic in the future".

I just don't want to lose examples like Darth Vader who I think fits the spirit of this trope even though he's considered "redeemed". He still had to die for what he did, and that's after burning in hell.

edited 21st May '12 10:23:09 AM by Fnu

I don't think Vader is an example, and should be removed. He was forgiven, if only by one person, before his death.
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
Beyond this, the motive to the infamous "she lose the will to live" moment is because the author feared the reaction of the audience. In other words, Vader was not intended by the author as irredeemable when he killed "younglings"
18 32_Footsteps21st May 2012 11:24:58 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
@15 You're missing the point of Redemption Equals Death totally. The explicit definition of that is that the act of redemption will kill the one who undertakes it... and this means that they do get redemption. It's right there in the title - redemption happens. Sure, it's deadly. But it's no less redeeming.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
[up][up][up] Multiple characters in the films believe Vader can never be redeemed. Even Vader himself believes he can never be redeemed. He hates himself for what he's done, but doesn't bother trying to atone because he believes it can't be done. Is that not at least playing with this trope?

[up] But if the character survived the same act (and the description for Redemption Equals Death explicitly says the character dies later and not doing the act) it would not be redemption no matter how good the act was. The good alone does not cancel out the evil act because nothing ever can. The character dies because no amount of good can ever cancel out the evil he has done. No matter what good he does, he must pay for the evil he has done and nothing short of death will suffice.
[up]That's plays with the idea of redemption, not with this particular trope. The guy ends up redeeming himself. He joins a happy ghost trio.

And, no, Redemption Equals Death isn't "a character is not redeemed, therefore he must die." If it were, we'd call it "No Redemption Only Death". It's a trope for when a bad character is redeemed - and then dies. The story punishes him because it feels right, or makes a satisfying narrative, or because it will please fans. The story might kill an innocent person as well for similar reasons. But if character is not redeemed, then he's not an example of that trope.

edited 21st May '12 4:06:59 PM by Routerie

If Redemption Equals Death really cannot apply to characters who have crossed the MEH, then we're going to have to alter the part in RED's description that suggests that a character can do something "unforgivable" and still qualify.

edited 21st May '12 4:48:47 PM by Fnu

Yeah, that's a pretty blatant contradiction. If it is unforgivable, they literally cannot be redeemed.

Perhaps whoever wrote that tried to distinguish between "forgivable" by fans and redeemed in the story.
23 Madrugada21st May 2012 05:15:08 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I think that this:
Every example should describe how the work portrayed the character differently after the act rather than just describing how evil the act was.
is a very good way to solve the problem of defining MEH. It's objective: The author changes the way the character is presented/seen by the other characters or by the character himself.

If this is going to become a thread about Redemption Equals Death, the tag needs to be changed.

edited 21st May '12 5:15:34 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
[up][up] Then again, it wouldn't be the first time there was such a contradiction. Some branches of Christianity have a concept of "Eternal sin" which is said to be "unforgivable", and yet they maintain that the possibility of redemption still exists but that it takes a miracle. I don't know how commonly known this doctrine is of if the editor was aware of it, but it sounds to me like a similar concept.

[up] Topic here is still Moral Event Horizon. We're just addressing Redemption Equals Death because its description implies that someone who crosses the MEH can be redeemed, and we're deciding whether or not that should be the case. If someone who crosses the MEH can never be redeemed no matter what, then the description for Redemption Equals Death will have to be changed to reflect that. We want our articles to be consistent with each other.

edited 21st May '12 5:32:44 PM by Fnu

Here's the big thing, forever is a LONG time. Especially in an ongoing series we can see someone step over the line and for years are treated as irredeemable. The MEH is an act that changes someone significantly, not a stamp that means they become immune to any future character development.

Now if there is an example of someone who does a bad thing but clearly pondered over the implications and even shows regrets then that is simply not an MEH. But a character makes an uncaring, malicious act that changes their previous nature and YEARS later finds themselves developing a conscience doesn't really invalidate that original act.

It's really all hypothetical, the nature of the trope requires context and it can sometimes be hard to read it all. The default state should be "Does something horrible and is forever changed" and not "Does something horrible and regrets it later on." Regardless the "regrets it later" should never be the next week.

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