Main Straw Character Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

10:15:35 PM Jun 3rd 2015
Should there be a trope where a straw character is used to deconstruct the negative public opinion of a certain group by comparing it with a positive example? Basically, the point would be "this is what you think we're like, and this is what we are actually like."
03:20:26 AM Jun 4th 2015
That'd be a question for YKTTW.
03:05:08 AM Jul 21st 2013
Cleaned up the natter on M*A*S*H's Winchester. Also, he displayed no liberal traits that I can recall. Possibly whoever put that in is referring to his dislike of the racist Major Weems. But Republicans were the anti-slavery, pro-federalism party until the Dixiecrats peeled off from the Democrats and Nixon picked them up with his Southern Strategy.
12:51:15 AM Apr 22nd 2013
This page is a bit of a mess. A "strawman" is NOT any time a particular position is presented in a bad light or mocking way. It is when intellectual dishonesty is employed to present only the weak arguments as indicative of the whole whilst deliberately ignoring strong arguments. Many of the contributors here seem unable to tell the difference.
01:40:00 AM Jun 21st 2013
I seriously agree, and would like to take a stab at fixing this. Both the Literature and Live TV portions are littered with examples which don't fit the Strawman definition.

I think the key is that a Strawman is not only the "negative" attributes of the philosophy/policy in question, but it also include significant components that are MADE UP, or over-generalized (or over-specialized) so much that they lose any connection with the target's actual positions.

It is NOT a Strawman if you present a character with a position actually advocated by the target, then proceed to make fun of, or poke holes in, that position. Just because you didn't present all of the target's philosophy doesn't make that target a strawman. Nor is it a strawman simply because the overall view is negative of that "strawman".

One example from the page that is NOT a strawman is The Colbert Report. It's a straightup parody. The anchorman is NOT making up positions or misrepresenting them; he's taking existing positions and exaggerating them (or taking them to their logical extreme). That's NOT A STRAWMAN.

In a similar vein, under the Film section, are The American President and The Contender. Neither have strawman opponents, because both opponents stake out positions explicitly stated by certain political groups, nor is it presented that these positions represent the entire political group.
03:10:19 AM Jul 21st 2013
It's also not a straw man if the traits in question are used to make a villain that much more vile. Take the example of Caleb from Buffy on the Straw Misogynist page. He wasn't a misogynist so Whedon could show how wrong his views were. He just hated women. That was it. And he happened to have superstrength to back up that hatred.
02:04:36 PM Nov 27th 2012
edited by Whiskyjack
Iain Banks example:

This seems a little harsh. Banks does criticise the traditionalism and capitalist excesses of various conservative societies, such as the Azad empire or the theocratic Idirans. However, it is also a running theme throughout his science fiction novels that the anarchic, post-scarcity Culture operates in some very murky waters and is not afraid to let the end justify the means.
06:45:46 AM Jul 25th 2012
Regarding the Cirkeline clip:

"See this clip if you want to see the harsh parts. Be careful that the uploader is well, anti-American, and Muslim."

No, he is not. Not muslim, anyway. In his YouTube account, the uploader makes this very clear. Amongst other things, he says (in Danish)

Islam wants to ban alcohol and pork. It is therefore my natural enemy.

Also, his upload archive is full of Danish news clips about muslim terrorism. Furthermore, his headline text is "Stolt over at være Vestlig" - Proud to be a Westerner - so he's probably not anti-American, either.

Collapse/Expand Topics