Main Clueless Aesop Discussion

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12:21:56 AM Aug 26th 2017
About the Lion King example.
  • The Lion King has a message that you should confront your past rather than run away from it. Except the past in question was never there in the first place. Simba didn't kill Mufasa, he was framed for it in a way that made him believe he was responsible. Message about confronting your guilt doesn't work well without any guilt to confront. Doubles as Broken Aesop as when he actually tries to confront it, the past wins.

I know it could just be my own interpretation, but I always figured the message of the movie was not to run away from your responsibilities and not specifically fixing problems you've caused. I know Simba being tricked into thinking everything was his fault is part of it, but I think it was more about not running away from your responsibilities, which in this case was taking control back from Scar and undoing the damage he did regardless of if Simba had any fault in it or not.
07:31:38 PM Aug 21st 2016
edited by lavendermintrose
So this, about Glee:
  • Another example would be 4x18 "Shooting Star" where they had a school shooting... but the gun going off was all accidental and didn't hurt anyone, and a teacher covered for the student at fault. So there were no actual consequences for the student who brought a gun to school and caused gunshots and terrified the entire student body and faculty. Many reviews of the episode claimed the message was lost by the end, or it was a failure, or it could've been much better, etc.

What happens in the episode is that the students are in a club meeting and they hear a gun go off in the school, and all of the students and teachers freak out and go into emergency mode. They're all really scared, obviously, and the direction actually shows that well. So, no one was hurt, and they don't know where the gun came from, and everyone's scared over that for a while. Then Sue - the mean gym teacher who's Jerk with a Heart of Gold side is that she cares for this student with Downs syndrome, because her sister had that - confesses to having the gun, and says she had a permit and it went off by accident (I think she might have been fired for it, or something?) But the main teacher confronts her about it, because he knows she wouldn't confess if it were true. And she says that actually, the student she cares about brought the gun, because she heard some adults (might have been her parents, I forgot) talking about how guns are necessary to protect yourself, and she thought she could protect herself from bullies with it.

This is one of the few things Glee did decently - all of the rest of the examples on the page are accurate. Whoever posted that example is completely missing the point - the world is more than just crazy shooters; the gun rhetoric is dangerous in more ways than the obvious ones; I don't know what their problem is with there not being any casualties - I hope they don't think that that implies that real-world shootings don't have casualties, because it obviously doesn't. And should there have been consequences for the student who really didn't know any better? I don't know enough about Downs syndrome to say whether it's an accurate portrayal or not (It's probably about as accurate as Glee is about their other pet cause, which is, not at all), but as the character is written, she didn't know any better - like plenty of real-life situations where ~6-year-olds get a hold of their families' guns - but the school board would not have been sympathetic. It's actually probably the only time where Sue's feelings on the issue weren't just glurge. This is the only time when the show managed to be nuanced about anything.

But I don't just want to remove the post because someone will just add it again, and counter-arguments are just considered natter, so I'll just leave this here.
11:05:08 AM Mar 28th 2016
  • The (in)famous episode of Arthur called "Arthur's Big Hit." Ideally, the moral of the story was supposed to be "violence won't solve your problems." Instead, the story went out of its way to make Arthur the bad guy. What makes it even worse is that D.W. never got punished. Arthur spent a week making a model plane, and DW not only ruins the wet paint, then blames it on Arthur, but she then throws his plane out the window, after he specifically told her not to touch it. She's not even sorry that it broke, blaming the plane for being defective because it didn't fly. Arthur hits D.W. in retribution, but gets all the blame. Her punishment could have happened off-screen, but all the viewer is shown is their parents saying that they'll deal with her, only for them to let it slide completely while Arthur is punished for the whole rest of the episode.
Doesn't seem like Inept Aesop to me. Anvilicious yes, but not clueless. Kids willing to take advice from show like this probably won't be typical bullies punching others For the Evulz. If there were to punch someone it would be in emotions, like in episode in question. We have an act, bad portrayal of an act and why it's bad(it hurts). The point of an Aesop is that just because you don't like what someone did doesn't mean you can just punch them. You may or may not agree with it, but that doesn't qualify it here.
09:11:10 AM Dec 3rd 2015
Does anyone know where the page image comes from? It's actually pretty good, but I'd like to know the source.
06:47:10 PM Dec 3rd 2015
An image search suggests that it's from Mario Quiz Cards
07:00:11 PM Dec 3rd 2015
Here's the card in question if you're curious.
02:02:26 PM Jun 17th 2014
Should it be mentioned that The Incredibles example is a little off? It says that Dash loses the race at the end. What actually happens is that he starts using his powers to easily outstrip his competition. His parents yell because he's risking exposing his powers. He slows down to - quoting what he said earlier in the film - "be the best by a tiny bit"
01:08:48 PM May 2nd 2014
edited by ading
I've never seen the show in question, but this example seems dubious:

  • Highway To Heaven has many clueless Aesops:
    • Trust in God? No, an angel will do whatever you need.
    • Always do what God says? No, the angel breaks the rules whenever he sees fit, sometimes without remorse.
    • Be yourself? Sometimes, but not if you're fat. If you're fat, you need to lose weight so people will like you.
    • Avoid violence? No, take up for yourself, even if it's for something trivial, like a stolen sandwich.
    • Gambling is bad? Only if you haven't rigged the results for yourself (appears in numerous episodes).
    • Never lie? Flexible depending on the situation.
    • Money is the root of all evil if you have it. If you don't have money, money is the cause of all your problems, as is evidenced in episodes where a senior-citizens' home is being sold, a woman's animal shelter is being sold to developers, and an episode where kids won't have Christmas because their dad doesn't have a job.

1) From this it sounds like what's getting complaints are the mistakes made by characters as a result of not obeying the Aesop, not the Aesops themselves.

2) These are Family Unfriendly Aesops, not clueless ones.

3) Some of these Aesops that they're apparently supposed to show according to the writer are pretty ridiculous to begin with. "Never lie"? Really? So if you're in Nazi Germany and you are hiding Jews in your basement, you should hand them over to be killed? "Be yourself"? What does that even mean? Do whatever you want to do? Isn't that what Aesops are supposed to prevent? "Trust in God"? "Always do what God says"? How do those even apply to the viewers? Most of them aren't getting direct instructions from God, are they? "Money is the root of all evil"? So they should say that poverty is a good thing?
05:03:04 PM May 18th 2012
edited by VVK
Removed this:
  • This comics. The message was supposed to be to hve more confidence in your skills and create stories you want to do, not the ones other people want you to. But it was present in such clumsy way that the message most people got, as seen on the comments on individual pages, was Yaoi Fangirls ruins everything, with some small minorities getting messages like "If somebody tells you to do something the way you don't wat to, never confront them about it - just quiletly do things your way and everything will be fine" or "Writers are parasites, artists are only ones who understand how to make comics", among the others.

Firstly, there's nothing I can see here about the medium not being able to present the aesop, and that's enough.

Second, and this is more for the record, the judgement that it was clumsily presented sounds bizarre. This trope isn't "clueless readers", but that's what the above sounds like, especially after my looking at the comic. As far as I'm concerned, the aesop was pretty much obvious as soon as the whole "I'm not confident enough to write myself" thing came up. All the above interpretations just sound like examples of "Lots of people on the internet are lousy at reading comprehension," which isn't news. Also, comments for the whole thing that I glanced at didn't seem so confused about it.
09:34:23 PM Feb 11th 2012
Considering the value judgment this trope entails for the works in question and its innate subjectivity, it should really be YMMV (as should Broken Aesop, most likely).
12:02:19 AM Mar 12th 2012
edited by LoserTakesAll
That's definitely true of Family-Unfriendly Aesop but I think Clueless Aesop is pretty judgement-neutral in intent (though lots of the examples clearly missed the intent). It's just supposed to be when the message someone is trying to get across doesn't make sense because properly conveying it requires information considered too controversial (or otherwise off-limits) for the work in question. Like if you wanted to do a story about sexually-transmitted disease on a kids show that wasn't allowed to mention sex. Or doing a story about the dangers of playing with guns on a show that isn't allowed to show death or injury, or on which the only guns that exist are nonlethal stun weapons.
11:39:01 AM Oct 18th 2011
  • Superman: At World's End ends with an aesop about the evils of guns, and having Superman and some kids destroy a bunch of guns in a bonfire. A few pages earlier, Superman defeated his enemies with a huge gun. As Linkara argues, you can't make an aesop about how guns don't solve any problems, when that is exactly what you just did.

Broken Aesop, not Clueless Aesop.
07:50:36 PM Apr 24th 2010
Serious natter under Videogames/Fallout 3. Could somebody please clean it up?
05:50:03 PM May 7th 2010
I cut it all; here it is if someone who's actually played the game wants to rewrite it:
11:46:50 AM Oct 18th 2011
I'm not even sure that quest was meant to have an Aesop.
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