Main Black And Gray Morality Discussion

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07:35:43 PM Jul 19th 2016
Does anyone else feel like the page image doesn't fit the trope? A more fitting descriptor for the "Grey" part would be Pay Evil unto Evil, not "Mooches on mom."
07:52:54 PM Jul 19th 2016
I think it's fine unless we have a replacement in mind.
06:23:14 PM Jun 27th 2016
edited by CabbitGirlEmi
Would Little Shop of Horrors qualify? Orin and Audrey II are easily in the black due to the respective traits of sadism and eating people. I believe Seymour would be in the gray because all he wanted to do is win Audrey's heart, and didn't really want to kill anyone to keep Twoey alive. (although Audrey herself may have the closest thing to white morality?)
03:26:12 AM Jul 16th 2015
Hitman: Blood Money (and the rest of the Hitman series for that matter) has you playing as a cold blooded, emotionless contract assassin, killing for money and showing no sympathy whatsoever to any of his targets, regardless of their situation. On the other hand, he also kills pedophiles, so he's not all bad.

I'm not going to make an edit, but I think I'll go on record saying that "Killing bad people = good" is an incredibly simplified and immature view of morality in my opinion.
07:26:48 AM Jul 16th 2015
If the only people he kills are bad, then it's pretty much this.
03:49:40 PM Jul 2nd 2015
edited by Bioshock
Is it just me or are a lot of the quotes and examples mixing this up with A Lighter Shade of Black? People are treating this like it's bad vs more bad when it's really more like morally ambiguous/Anti-Hero/ Anti Villian/Neutral vs bad. I'm going to start moving quotes around if nobody minds, For instance the page quote for this belongs under A Lighter Shade of Black or Evil vs. Evil not here.
07:25:17 AM Jun 25th 2014
I would like to move this to Grey and Gray Morality: Believe it or not, Mario's world was like this in his debut game. In the arcade Donkey Kong, Mario had captured the eponymous ape and wasn't very nice to him, leading to DK escaping and abducting Mario's girlfriend as revenge by proxy. Nintendo of America workers even named Mario after their landlord as a result of being mad at him, which backfired in a truly epic fashion.

I don't believe the Mario/Donkey Kong conflict, even in the beginning, had any Black Morality to be in this trope. While Donkey Kong was the antagonist in the first game he was more of a frustrated, stubborn ape who kidnapped Pauline because Mario abused him (and perhaps he thought she was pretty). Furthermore though Mario did abuse Donkey Kong he still risked life and limb to save his girlfriend from a giant, rampaging ape, so I'd consider him more a Jerkass Anti-Hero than a Villain Protagonist. This type of conflict is proven further in the sequels where in Donkey Kong Jr. Mario was the antagonist, locking up DK for kidnapping Pauline and Donkey Kong being rescued by Jr., and Donkey Kong 3 where even after being set free by his loving son, Donkey Kong still caused trouble by harassing Stanley for no discernible reason.

Before I edit, what do you guys think?
07:54:42 AM Jun 25th 2014
... I think all of it is massive, massive overanalysis.
06:20:35 PM Jun 25th 2014
Maybe, but bottom line is that for there to be Black and Gray Morality, there should be a black side and I don't see it in either Mario or Donkey Kong. So I'd move this example to Grey and Gray Morality because the conflict is between two flawed but sympathetic characters.
08:39:01 AM Aug 2nd 2012
I removed this entry by jillord:

  • Of course, also the Judeo-Christian God and his cohorts fall into this trope. For example, the Flood and Noah: God wasn't happy the way his own creations (humans) behaved, so he decided to drown the ENTIRE PLANET and nearly everything with it. Talk about excessive retribution. Of course Noah made the ark at his command, but still. The plagues and other crap in ancient Egypt were also extremely nasty. The angels were sent to murder innocent babies, and the plagues ravaged the land, killing normal, random people like flies. He also demanded his follower to sacrifice his own son for his glory (though God backed out of this in the last moment). And of course God let his own son die in a horrible way, though this was an attempt to improve the humanity's chances of a better afterlife.

I'm thinking it's too controversial to keep around. Anyone else have any thoughts?
09:25:05 AM Aug 2nd 2012
I agree with you. Wayyy too many different and possibly offensive interpretations. And it's misuse, since this trope can't apply to single entity and the angels aren't being treated as separate.
08:03:05 AM May 4th 2013
Yeah, we don't need religion on morality tropes.
01:47:32 PM Mar 21st 2012
Really have do quibble the mention of Harry Potter. There are a few nods in the direction of black and grey morality, but there's never any real doubt who the good guys are and even if the good team has a few questionable characters (Dumbledore, the Cauldron Salesman guy, Snape) most of the good guys are saints whose greatest crime is little more than annoyance at their evil counterparts. Certainly compared to the likes of A Song of Ice and Fire the Harry Potter universe is really a case of Black and White morality.
08:06:04 AM May 4th 2013
edited by
No one in Harry Potter is a saint. They're clearly the heroes, but they're all very deeply flawed people. The bad guys on the other hand are often Complete Monsters. It's a mild example, but still an example.
08:02:25 PM Dec 13th 2011
Cut this:
  • Hack/Slash: there don't seem to be any good supernatural entities, you can become an uber-empowered-undead by just being villainous enough, and the only bulwark against the above is screwed up to say the least.
Because it just doesn't fit. Cassie Hack has personal emotional and psychological issues, but she is clearly good. She may not be perfect, but she is genuinely morally heroic. Hack/Slash is White And Black Morality.
06:43:21 AM Oct 1st 2011
  • Likewise the Semitic Mythology. Baal and Ishtar, anyone? And they are supposed to be the good guys...

I am sure the Semitic Mythology conflict is not portrayed as morally ambiguous.
06:36:14 AM Oct 1st 2011
  • Word of God is Addergoole was meant to have a Grey and Gray Morality, but many of the antagonists are so objectionable that there's nothing gray about them. It does at least have some characters who are morally light gray. Its sister story Wild One's Blood is very much Black and Charcoal.

in non-YMMV tropes, an Alternate Character Interpretation is irrelevant
06:21:38 AM Oct 1st 2011
  • Rifts: It is easy to describe the Coalition States and New German Republic in Rifts as outright evil, but a closer examination of the setting shows that extremist and often xenocidal though they are, they really are beneficent organizations for their members and they just might be the last best hope for humanity that they claim. The Coalition's fortified cities, in particular, are probably the only places in the world where you can be absolutely assured you can walk down the street without being accosted by some supernatural maniac. It is often tempting to describe them as being similar to Warhammer 40000's Imperium of Man, only plausible.
    • The game frequently plays with this; compared to the Federation of Magic, Atlantis, or a disturbing number of other options the Coalition is Grey. Compared to Lazlo or Tolkeen before the war drove them to desperation, they look rather more Black. The NGR is a lighter shade of grey by its lack of territorial ambitions; Free Quebec is more backwards on its stance on psionics and if anything even more violently xenocidal, but also generally gets consideration as a lighter shade by virtue of its isolationist behavior and apparent freedom of thought and dissent. (The book makes it clear that, while Free Quebec allows its citizens to be freely educated and doesn't have Coalition-style sedition laws, dissent and debate are still contained by informal pressure.)
    • This is subverted, however, by the fact that Rifts has a Character Alignment system, so any attempts to portray the Coalition leadership as "gray" are Alternate Character Interpretation in defiance of Word of God. (That, and the Emperor is a fan of Hitler who thinks he can do it better.)

an Alternate Character Interpretation in non-ymmv tropes is totally irrelevant
01:29:10 PM Sep 22nd 2011

in non-YMMV tropes, an Alternate Character Interpretation is irrelevant
04:49:24 PM Aug 2nd 2010
edited by cclospina
12:33:44 PM Feb 5th 2011
06:22:40 PM Feb 5th 2011
because in the Black and Gray Morality one supports the gray side.

06:31:28 PM Feb 5th 2011
Hmm, that's a very good point. I guess that the effect could still be present if the Gray side was pretty bad, but I see where you're coming from.
09:58:10 AM Apr 25th 2010
edited by TriggerLoaded
Removed the following:

  • While it started as white and black, Order Of The Stick has been slowly creeping into this. The only purely good people on the good side are Roy, Durkon and Elan. The others? Belkar's a card carrying psychopath, Haley sadistically murdered a defenseless woman in cold blood, taking a bit too much pleasure in offing her rival even if said rival would do the same, and Vaarsuvius basically committed an act of genocide, and despite claims of the race being Always Chaotic Evil being used as a justification, Rich made it clear in the commentaries this was not a good thing On Team Evil, we have an omnicidal, card carrying Lich, the high priest of the Goblin religion that genuinely seeks to improve the lives of his people, and a necromancer who genuinely believes that the undead are better people than the living.

Really, this sounds incredibly pedantic. First, the woman Haley killed was an ASSASSSIN! One who would do the same to her given half the chance. Okay, not a shining beacon of morality, but still, to claim she's horribly corrupted because of the act? Vaarsuvius has shown regret for his actions, and was also rather hopped up and power-mad at the time. Still doesn't justify what he did, but he isn't making a habit of it.

Half the team is good? Doesn't really sound like "Black and Grey" to me. Haley still has the greater good in mind (She did take charge of the resistance when stuck in Sapphire City) Vaarsuvius is also pretty neutral and is willing to do a lot (And no question that the genocide spell was nasty) but they're kept under control by Roy.

The team doesn't fit the nature of the trope. It isn't "Good guys with a few morally liberal members fight against evil." It's "Not-so-evil fights against really evil."
07:59:08 AM Apr 28th 2010
And should be pointed out that the woman haley killed was her lifelong rival dedicated to destroying her life. And I still don't see what's wrong with wiping out a race that is by universal law Always Chaotic Evil.
10:42:36 PM Apr 28th 2010
I don't have a big problem with Haley's actions. It wasn't the move of a Knight in Shining Armor, but it wasn't evil either. It doesn't say anywhere that good has to be nice or honorable, and as we've always known that Haley is not a pure, Honor Before Reason type of good guy.

V's actions, to me, were completely wrong. And the Always Chaotic Evil rule doesn't fly in this case. (For me, due to Unfortunate Implications, it really doesn't fly ever). In this particular case, when you consider that we know for a fact that fallible gods, (and we've seen them be fallible, petty, not too bright and a lot of other things) set the rules on what is considered good and evil and that we've seen multiple times that evil creatures are more than just their alignments, you need more than an alignment to justify killing off a bunch of living creatures.

In the real world we don't kill off entire nations because they have evil members, we don't throw entire families in jail because of the actions of one member, and given the level of realism that OOTS employs, I feel you have to treat characters within it the same way. (And as a throwaway bit of speculation, I think that odds are that if V had nearly exterminated a race that looked human, elvish, or dwarfish while still being Always Chaotic Evil, a lot of people that don't have a problem with familicide would be horrified by it. If human babies and pregnant women were being killed rather than dragon babies and eggs, it would be a whole different ballgame, wouldn't it, despite being the result of the exact same action).
07:19:47 AM Apr 29th 2010
edited by tricksterson
Wouldn't make any difference to me but then I'm an irrational sociopath with severe anger issues.
05:11:22 PM Mar 4th 2010
First, just to clear something up: as far as the "first edit" goes, I mean that in the interim, someone changed it from "who cares?" to "what does it matter?" and added the part about deconstruction, and I'm not sure who was responsible. Like I said on the post that got eaten somehow, I thought that was a good way to handle it.

Anyway, I might as well mention that attributing the whole scenario to Deconstruction has always bugged me, as if a realistically-portrayed Western can't have any "good" heroes. (While I'm at it, I should also probably mention that it's been a long time since I saw the movie at this point.) I like the second one best.
09:55:47 AM Mar 5th 2010
Okay, I've done a bit of a rewrite. Let me know what you think.
12:37:17 PM Mar 5th 2010
I like it.
12:21:43 PM Mar 4th 2010
Huh. I wonder where my last comment went. Anyway, to continue (or, ideally, resolve) the issue of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, finishing with a question of "who cares" who wins (not to say "who cares" about the movie itself, mind) may have been out of line. However, the original edit changed it to "what does it matter?", not a False Dichotomy of how this movie lacking a white-as-snow "paragon of virtue". Where did that come from?
12:54:52 PM Mar 4th 2010
Caswin, I changed the wording because saying "who cares?" did seem to imply a certain apathy about the movie and its characters. Saying who cares is tantamount to say that it's not gripping, it doesn't matter how things end/what the outcome is, that the story is boring, etc. I'll freely admit I probably went too far changing it the other way, but the way the original example was written, it sounded like someone complaining "None of these characters is a Knight in Shining Armor, so nobody cares (or should care) about what happens."

Also, I saw your original post and questions before it got eaten, and yes, I changed the words in the example despite not being the original author. The reason being that the example pages are not forums. Whenever we start debating back and forth on a main page, eventually some editor just has to come along and cut all the natter and change the original text in the first place. Hell, if I'm not mistaken, the guide to editing says something along the lines of "Don't debate on a page, if you see an error or problem in an example, change it. If it becomes an Edit War, take it to a discussion page and hash it out there."

For resolving what the example should say, I basically can see two ways to go. The first way is not to even get into person feelings about characters. For example, cut out the last sentence from the way it's currently written and leave it at "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as a result of its deconstruction of the typical morality in Westerns. The titular three characters are: an Anti Hero con artist, a cold-blooded hit man, and an all-around cad, respectively."

The other way I'm thinking we can do it is to have that part in the quotes above, and then add something along the lines of how as a result even the "good guy" is only really sympathetic or seems good in comparison to the bad guys he is up against. It may also be worth pointing out that there are occasional minor characters that are more truly good than the main three, like the Union commandant at the prison who is crippled and dying but attempts to prevent the abuses going on there, or Tuco's brother, or the Union captain sickened by the slaughter over the bridge, and so on. What do you think?
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