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Needs Cleaning Up: Humans Are Bastards get usage counts

 376 Tyoria, Sun, 23rd Dec '12 3:08:30 AM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
Only a wick check can tell what we need to do with the wicks. I personally think "humans are bastards" is a trope - given that Most Writers Are Humans, you would not expect humans to be insufferable jerks?

Yeah, it would seem to me intuitively obvious that many works that ruminate on the base nature of humanity would come to a conclusion about... the base nature of humanity. You don't need aliens or elves or what have you to get there.

It's just... me, I guess I haven't read enough, or do not much care for this genre or something, because honestly, I can't think of many out of the gate. I think my tastes tend to prefer a more balanced, Humans Are Flawed but not necessarily screwed approach... So I'm not very good at being able to generate a basic list. I tried to write up the basic trope, but it would have been better if I could come up with examples.

edited 23rd Dec '12 3:08:54 AM by Tyoria

 377 Septimus Heap, Sun, 23rd Dec '12 3:30:48 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Actually, abk0100 did a wick check back in @366. From that I guess that turning this into a "literal" form of Humans Are Bastards would make sense here.

Hmm. IIRC, there was only one poster (and he knows who he is :)) who was very vocal that "humans are bastards in general" is not a trope. Were/are there any others?

 379 Nohbody, Sun, 23rd Dec '12 3:53:37 PM from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
Not having been involved much (if at all) in this thread, I'm sure it's not me you're thinking of, but I am skeptical that humans in general are bastards is a trope.

edited 23rd Dec '12 3:54:33 PM by Nohbody

 380 nrjxll, Sun, 23rd Dec '12 9:20:17 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I think it's a trope, but I don't believe it's sufficiently distinguishable from Crapsack World.

 381 Septimus Heap, Mon, 24th Dec '12 2:01:53 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Humans are jerks is possibly related to jerkass, but the connection to Crapsack World is very tenuous (especially scaling-wise)

World's Toughest Milkman
Yeah, I think there's two simple questions you can ask yourself: 1) can a Crapsack World have humans that aren't bastards? 2) is it possible to have a reasonably nice world even though all humans are bastards? I think the answer to both questions is indisputably yes, which makes the idea that this is the same as Crapsack World rather silly.

I'll grant that 2 is fairly rare, but not unheard of. It mainly comes up in science fiction, when the author wants to show that technology can give us wonderful things, but people will still be bastards.

1, however, happens all the time! In fact, I'd say that as often as not, a Crapsack World is written to torture the characters that aren't bastards (usually including, at least, the protagonist.)
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 383 Septimus Heap, Mon, 24th Dec '12 4:26:48 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
There is a YKTTW here for this concept going on.

 384 Twentington, Fri, 1st Feb '13 6:40:10 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Is any more TRS action needed here? Or can this be moved to cleanup?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 385 Septimus Heap, Sat, 2nd Feb '13 2:32:54 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Yes. Create a description of "Humans are jerks, even though you would not expect that given Most Writers Are Human"

World's Toughest Milkman
There was a sandbox, but I'm afraid it probably got lost in the recent sandbox purge. Maybe something like this:
People are often jerks—nobody will deny that. Some writers, though, like to leave out the "often" part, and tell us how everyone is a bastard.

This is often combined with Crapsack World to achieve a sort of perfectly-black Dystopia, but it can also be used in bright, shiny, pleasant setting, to emphasize the fact that humans are the real problem, and Nature is Good. Especially if it's a Last Fertile Region.

In works using this trope, the protagonist, by definition, cannot be any better than an Anti-Hero, if not an outright Villain Protagonist.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 387 Tyoria, Fri, 8th Mar '13 1:05:30 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
The old sandbox was this:

In essence Humans Are Bastards is the reverse of Rousseau Was Right — the natural proclivity of humanity is towards selfishness, apathy and violence. Only a select few people manage to rise above their baser natures to become something better, but the kernel of darkness is still inborn. When Humans Are Bastards is in effect, even your "heroes" don't have clean hands, so most conflict is gray against black, with some gray against gray or black against black on for variety.

A Crapsack World is the norm, but there are exceptions. Humans being bastards doesn't preclude them being pragmatic about it, so if there isn't a profit to be made by making the world a hellhole, they might not, but if conditions are tolerable it certainly isn't due to any inborn altruism on the part of those in charge.

Appeals to people's better nature will not work. Don't expect to see anyone shame the mob — idealism has no place here. Any successful do-gooders will be very, very cynical and paranoid, as the genuinely hopeful will inevitably become embittered if they're not killed outright.

Very, very far down the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Comedies are black. Dramas are depressing. Beware of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.

Compare Crapsack World, Black and Gray Morality. Hobbes Was Right often makes an appearance, proposing that if the bastardy of humanity is a constant, the most effective form of government is tyranny. Contrast Rousseau Was Right, White and Gray Morality. See also Humans Are Flawed, which takes the middle road by acknowledging humanity's shortcomings while not underplaying their potential capacity for virtue. For settings where only humans are bastards, while other species are morally superior, see Humans Are the Real Monsters.

World's Toughest Milkman
[up] First paragraph is good. Second should be merged with my second; I'm not convinced that crapsack is the norm for such works. The rest seems ok. Though my comment about nobody being better than an Anti-Hero, if not an outright Villain Protagonist, seems (in my admittedly biased opinion) like it might be worth keeping.

edited 8th Mar '13 2:01:07 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 389 Tyoria, Fri, 8th Mar '13 2:34:29 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
Sounds good, I'm agreeable to your points there.

 390 Septimus Heap, Fri, 8th Mar '13 2:38:53 PM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
That description is good, but I would not say that "Crapsack World" is the norm.

As an aside, we'll have to move personal examples over to Jerkass or appropriate tropes (or the rubbish bin when necessary).

 391 Septimus Heap, Fri, 15th Mar '13 9:26:21 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Are we in agreement on launching that paragraph?

Petting Zoo Person
If saying yes gets this closed faster, then yes.
I must be cruel, but to be kind That bad may begin, and worse be left behind
World's Toughest Milkman
With the changes I proposed, yes, I think so. Several days have gone by with no further objections or criticisms.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 394 Septimus Heap, Mon, 18th Mar '13 9:13:24 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Hmm...shouldn't we get some examples for that? Or does crosswicking suffice for that task?

World's Toughest Milkman
We have a big cleanup still ahead, but part of the reason we decided to go this way was that so much misuse for the old version (which now has a new name—I forget exactly what) was...what we've now properly described.

We still have to deal with the wicks.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 396 Septimus Heap, Sat, 23rd Mar '13 4:48:04 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Launch executed. Now we need to:
  1. Find an index.
  2. Find examples.
  3. Clean the wicks.

World's Toughest Milkman
Examples are probably on the old trope (now named Humans Are the Real Monsters). I just found one while fixing wicks that didn't fit the old trope at all. There may be a few on Crapsack World as well.

edit: typo

edited 7th Apr '13 3:45:17 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
I found a startling amount of examples on Humans Are the Real Monsters that don't include non-humans to make a comparsion. They can be moved here.
 
 399 StarSword, Fri, 7th Jun '13 5:25:11 PM from somewhere in deep space Relationship Status: In denial
SF-81A Black Knight
I want to check if this is a valid example or if I should put it somewhere else. I've already got it on Grey and Gray Morality.

Webcomics:
  • Downplayed in Terra. The upper brass of the UEC are definitely bastards, responsible for a number of atrocities, and human terrorists were originally responsible for the comic's Forever War. However individual humans are no more inherently good or evil than anyone else, and the Asurian Empire can be just as bastardy as the UEC.

[down]Ok, I'll go ahead and add it then.

edited 8th Jun '13 12:38:10 PM by StarSword

 400 Septimus Heap, Sat, 8th Jun '13 1:33:30 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
That would fit the newer definition of Humans Are Bastards.

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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