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Needs Cleaning Up: Humans Are Bastards get usage counts

 251 Ekuran, Fri, 12th Aug '11 8:00:51 PM from somewhere. Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Hi.
Bumping this, as it's now 15:7 in favor of the first option.

edited 12th Aug '11 8:01:20 PM by Ekuran

[Insert seemingly profound or amusing phrase here.]
 252 Tyoria, Fri, 12th Aug '11 8:06:37 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
Looks like we need to sandbox a Humans Are Bastards page and then Trope Transplant this one to another page like Terrans Are Bastards.

 253 nrjxll, Fri, 12th Aug '11 10:01:52 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I'm still highly uncertain as to whether the Trope Decayed definition is a trope at all. We may have had a long derail on the subject, but there was never a clear answer given.

Well, if it's not, what other option is there? Every single other one, including doing nothing, is in the negatives.

World's Toughest Milkman
Yes, it's a trope. It's very similar to Crapsack World (as many people have pointed out), but easily distinguishable by two factors: A) it's about humans (Crapsack World can involve any species), and B) it's just about the people (a world where Humans Are Bastards doesn't have to be a Crapsack World; it could be a perfectly nice world otherwise, for reasons that are never explained).

If it weren't for B, we could call it a subtrope of Crapsack World, and we may even be able to gloss over B and call it a subtrope anyway. B may be too rare to affect the definition. Otherwise, though, it's a sister trope.

Yes, they're very similar, but Crapsack World is clearly broader. It's like Fantastic Science vs Sufficiently Analyzed Magic. The latter is a subtrope of the former, and 99% of the instances of the former are the latter, but they're still separate tropes.

edited 13th Aug '11 9:38:59 AM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
The leading option is now 10 points in the green, and the "cons" associated with it strike me as empty complaints:
  • Concedes to trope decay? Well, yeah, but said trope decay is understandable in light of the name. I don't think conceding to trope decay should be seen as an exclusively bad thing.
  • Redundant with Crapsack World? Not really. A place can be crapsack without people being bastards, and people can be bastards without a place being crapsack.
  • May not be a trope at all? Then why was it interpreted as such so often by so many users?

I say we go with that leading option.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
 257 Native Jovian, Thu, 25th Aug '11 10:56:02 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
I don't see how "people suck" is a trope at all. It's not about a plot, a character, or a setting — it's more like a philosophical belief than an actual element of fiction, and that end of things can pretty much be covered by the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Humans are bastards compared to aliens, on the other hand, is definitely a trope. It tells you something about the story and the setting.

My suggestion would be to keep the current definition and rename it along the lines of Terrans Are Bastards, but keep Humans Are Bastards as a redirect in order to preserve the incoming links. The rename option is way in the negative, so I don't expect that to happen, but we definitely shouldn't expand the definition.

edited 25th Aug '11 10:56:15 AM by NativeJovian

it's more like a philosophical belief than an actual element of fiction

To be fair, if a given philosophical belief is being explicitly stated by a character within a work, I can see that being worked as trope, as in There Are No Coincidences. However, I don't think that the majority of misuse here could even be considered a character's statement of belief and opinion on human nature, but rather just a description of the actions of a single character or a small group of characters who just so happen to do be evil or dicks and carelessly applying their behavior to the entire human race. For instance, Captain Hammer—a lone individual—being an asshole does not mean Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog exemplifies HUMANS being bastards, and yet somehow the work is listed as an example because of a single Jerkass character.

A single human character who just happens to partake in evil (or jerkass) actions and activities cannot possibly be an example of any of the broader concepts being discussed here unless that single human character is the only human character appearing in the work.
Gah. Is there anyone who can put in a "final word" on this? I'd hate to have a -12 option on a crowner "win" by default because we can't agree on what needs to be done.

World's Toughest Milkman
I don't get how people don't get that this is a trope! Saying "'people suck' is not a trope" is like looking at Crapsack World and saying "'the world sucks' is not a trope". They're very similar tropes, used in pretty much the same way, and often occur together, but they're clearly distinct, because this one is about people, and Crapsack World is about the world. You can have one without the other — a Crapsack World where people are nice, or a world where Humans Are Bastards, but things still work pretty well, for whatever reason.

If this isn't a trope, then we should take Crapsack World to the cutting block too, because it's just as much a trope or not as this is.

(And yes, with that definition, we'll probably have to clean up some misuse, but that seems like it was inevitable in any case.)

edited 25th Aug '11 11:03:41 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 261 Native Jovian, Fri, 26th Aug '11 6:43:21 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Crapsack World is a trope because it's about the story's setting. Humans Are Bastards is... I don't know, a belief? An attitude? The most you could use it for is saying "such-and-such character thinks that Humans Are Bastards" — I don't think there's any work of fiction out there where absolutely every single character is an unsympathetic jerk, so it doesn't really apply without another sentient non-human race for comparison.
[up][up] Like I said, "people suck" is only a trope if it's an opinion openly shared by a character in a work because that's all it is—an opinion. But a troper can't just say something like Die Hard exemplifies such a concept just because human characters are the bad guys and they do loathsome things.

Anything like the second variant depends entirely on the views and perceptions of the individual editor who includes the "example", and it would only make the basis for a very pointless YMMV page.

edited 26th Aug '11 6:59:20 AM by SeanMurrayI

I don't see how "people suck" is a trope at all. It's not about a plot, a character, or a setting it's more like a philosophical belief than an actual element of fiction, and that end of things can pretty much be covered by the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
Even then, a particular work portraying humans as good can be relatively more cynical than a particular work portraying humans as bastards, depending on what else is idealistic or cynical about each work.

As for users misinterpreting the presence of evil characters in a work as a message about the human species, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a trope, that could instead mean that people see the trope where it isn't there, just as many tropes have examples due to people seeing the trope where it isn't there.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
 264 Native Jovian, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:53:52 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Look at it this way. What would an example of Humans Are Bastards look like? A work were absolutely every single character is an unsympathetic asshole? I don't think that exists. A work where a particular character thinks that Humans Are Bastards? We already have a trope for that: Nietzsche Wannabe. I'm not sure how else you could use Humans Are Bastards except the "compared to other species" definition that we're currently using.
As for users misinterpreting the presence of evil characters in a work as a message about the human species, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a trope, that could instead mean that people see the trope where it isn't there, just as many tropes have examples due to people seeing the trope where it isn't there.

When editors provide examples of a trope or list a trope when it "isn't there" in a work to begin with, wouldn't such content be frowned upon here and be subject for immediate removal as soon as anyone notices it doesn't belong?

edited 26th Aug '11 9:49:55 AM by SeanMurrayI

Look at it this way. What would an example of Humans Are Bastards look like?
One that evidently portrays human nature in a very negative light?

It does rest on interpretation, of course, but so do many tropes we already have; the distinction between Accidental Nightmare Fuel and High Octane Nightmare Fuel rests on interpreting the intent of the writer, and that kind of interpretation is arguably even less certain than that of the portrayal of human nature.

When editors provide examples of a trope or list a trope when it "isn't there" in a work to begin with, wouldn't such content be frowned upon here and be subject for immediate removal as soon as anyone notices it doesn't belong?
If the article was well taken care of? Yes.

But the problem with examples like that isn't a problem with the concept, but with the article not being well taken care of. The solution isn't to abandon the concept, but to keep better watch over the article. Perhaps, for example, the article could be locked so that examples would be added or removed by staff as per forum discussions, like what seems to be the approach with the Disney section of Complete Monster; I don't know, that's just an example.

My point is, the problem isn't the concept but how it's approached.

edited 26th Aug '11 10:20:40 AM by HiddenFacedMatt

"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
 267 Tyoria, Fri, 26th Aug '11 10:30:03 AM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
What needs to be done is a sandbox definition of Humans Are Bastards meaning people are bastards, and then a trope transplant of the current Humans Are Bastards trope (meaning humans are bastards compared to other species). The only reason the arguing is still going on despite the fact that this is the leading option is that no one in favor of that option has had the initiative to go up and type out the new page. Yes, I'm castigating myself here as well — I haven't forgotten it needs to be done, but I haven't gotten around to it either.

Hmm, how's that?

One that evidently portrays human nature in a very negative light?

Hobbes Was Right? Actually, no.

edited 26th Aug '11 10:49:31 AM by SeanMurrayI

[up] THAT unintuitively-named, exceedingly-obscure trope? The one whose description seems to imply that it's specifically about the subtrope where humans being bastards requires strong governments to intervene? I'd rather we go with the trope that's more mainstream, more intuitively named, and currently associated with negative portrayals of human nature.

edited 26th Aug '11 11:08:14 AM by HiddenFacedMatt

"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
But to reiterate Jovian's earlier question, what would such portrayals look like exactly?

Earlier, it seemed like you were describing something based on viewer interpretation, which would root the concept so deep in individual interpretation and YMMV territory that this couldn't possibly be rightfully called a trope. If it's a trope, it's gotta involve a work that either makes a clear message or statement about human nature, such as a character making explicit remarks on the subject for one reason or another when conversing with another character, or what a story conveys through any symbolism or allegory, as in Lord of the Flies. If the concept is going to depend on individual interpretation of anything in a story, it's way too broad even for a YMMV tag; virtually any horrible, loathsome, or extremely dickish character action could be held up by anybody as an example as long as the character performing the action is human.

edited 26th Aug '11 11:34:33 AM by SeanMurrayI

World's Toughest Milkman
[up]The portrayals would look like a setting where people are bastards. Just like Crapsack World looks like a setting where the world is a sack of crap. The two tropes are very similar, but distinct, and often overlap, but don't have to.

Most of the misuse I've seen is exactly this. The exception is when people use it to mean "some people suck", and that sort of usage is not salvageable, and never was.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 272 Native Jovian, Fri, 26th Aug '11 1:17:17 PM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
[up]Where all people are bastards, without exception? I don't think there are many, if any, works like that. Where some people are bastards? That's People Sit on Chairs.
 273 Tyoria, Fri, 26th Aug '11 1:31:34 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
The human condition is toward bastardy. There may be exceptions, but they prove the rule. We are a brutal, savage people. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves, and will exist only to be proven wrong, disillusioned and/or killed horribly due to their pathetic naivety.

World's Toughest Milkman
[up][up]No, no more than Crapsack World implies that "every single aspect of the world is crap". Your argument works just as well as a claim that Crapsack World is People Sitting On Chairs unless it covers every single aspect of a world.

edited 26th Aug '11 1:53:07 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
Most of the misuse I've seen is exactly this.

Of the sample examples I included in this thread's OP, the worst form of misuse, by far, consists of descriptions of terrible things characters who just happen to be human do. That's it—no mention of any characters who may have brought up the issue of human nature in relation to the nature of the evil action, no mention of the evil action being used as a device within the work symbolic of the nature or base intent of the entire human race, nothing.

Other wicks which I said exist in a "gray area" are much more suitable for some kind of troping because while they don't entirely fit with what Humans Are Bastards is specifically supposed to define, they are still explicit references to a negative view of human nature.

The human condition is toward bastardy. There may be exceptions, but they prove the rule. We are a brutal, savage people. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves, and will exist only to be proven wrong, disillusioned and/or killed horribly due to their pathetic naivety.

Coming back to Die Hard, would Hans Gruber's actions be an example of this trope just because we could say that they convey evil which man is capable of committing? Is it entirely fair then to say that Die Hard conveys a message about human nature? Could any story with good guys and bad guys be fairly claimed to "prove the rule" as long as the bad guys doing bad things are human—even in the complete absence of non-humans?

edited 26th Aug '11 2:08:28 PM by SeanMurrayI

Alternative Titles: Humans Are Bastards
24th Feb '12 7:38:44 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the name will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of Crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative names.
At issue:
What do we rename Humans Are Bastards, the trope meaning "humans are bastards compared to other sapient species"?
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