Needs Cleaning Up: Humans Are Bastards

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376 Tyoria23rd Dec 2012 03:08:30 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 SeptimusHeap23rd Dec 2012 03:30:48 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
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 Nohbody23rd Dec 2012 03:53:37 PM from Somewhere in Dixie , Relationship Status: Mu
"In distress", my ass.
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 nrjxll23rd Dec 2012 09:20:17 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I think it's a trope, but I don't believe it's sufficiently distinguishable from Crapsack World.
381 SeptimusHeap24th Dec 2012 02:01:53 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Humans are jerks is possibly related to jerkass, but the connection to Crapsack World is very tenuous (especially scaling-wise)
382 Xtifr24th Dec 2012 03:56:27 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
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.)
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383 SeptimusHeap24th Dec 2012 04:26:48 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
There is a YKTTW here for this concept going on.
384 Twentington1st Feb 2013 06:40:10 PM from Somewhere , Relationship Status: Desperate
Is any more TRS action needed here? Or can this be moved to cleanup?
This is my signature

385 SeptimusHeap2nd Feb 2013 02:32:54 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Yes. Create a description of "Humans are jerks, even though you would not expect that given Most Writers Are Human"
386 Xtifr14th Feb 2013 01:05:54 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
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.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
387 Tyoria8th Mar 2013 01:05:30 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 vs. 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.
388 Xtifr8th Mar 2013 01:59:21 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
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

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389 Tyoria8th Mar 2013 02:34:29 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
Sounds good, I'm agreeable to your points there.
390 SeptimusHeap8th Mar 2013 02:38:53 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
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 SeptimusHeap15th Mar 2013 09:26:21 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
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
393 Xtifr15th Mar 2013 05:03:35 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
With the changes I proposed, yes, I think so. Several days have gone by with no further objections or criticisms.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
394 SeptimusHeap18th Mar 2013 09:13:24 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Hmm...shouldn't we get some examples for that? Or does crosswicking suffice for that task?
395 Xtifr20th Mar 2013 05:55:56 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
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.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
396 SeptimusHeap23rd Mar 2013 04:48:04 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Launch executed. Now we need to:
  1. Find an index.
  2. Find examples.
  3. Clean the wicks.
397 Xtifr7th Apr 2013 03:44:21 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
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

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
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 StarSword7th Jun 2013 05:25:11 PM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
You are of Bajor.
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.

  • 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 SeptimusHeap8th Jun 2013 01:33:30 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
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 title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:
What do we rename Humans Are Bastards, the trope meaning "humans are bastards compared to other sapient species"?

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