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Archived Discussion Main / JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope

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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.


  • As an example of the above, The "Justice League" episode "A Better World," showed that killing a supervillain to keep him from, literally, destroying the world would inevitably lead a superhero to becoming a superpowered tyrant who runs a police state where the Gestapo "disappears" people who so much as raise their voices in public.

Took this out, because killing Lex Luthor wasn't the cause of the police state, they were both effects of the death of the Flash.

Ranchoth: I think that's highly arguable— the death of the Flash may have been the impetus for mirror-Superman to CONFRONT Luthor, but it was clearly the dialogue between Superman and Luthor, culminating in Supes' decision to kill Lex, that was the catalyist to creating the police state.

But, if anything, I'd cheerfully agree to anyone editing the root causes of the confrontation, if the example as a whole could remain up. it's, in my view, too prime an example of the trope to pass up. Especially with the apparent "Aesop" that taking the most rational action to permanently disable mass murdering supervillains who threaten the world will inevitably turn you into Super Stalin!

  • Sweet lord, all those spoiler tags!

Ununnilium: I disagree, especially because there wasn't really any point at which they seemed rational and then jumped off - the Justice Lords started off as being really messed-up, and only later did we learn of the "good" reasons behind their actions.

  • Ranchoth Eh? the *very beggining* of the episode, showing the confrontation between mirror-Luthor and Supes didn't seem to suggest anything BUT that the two universes were fundamentally different—mirror Superman dressed and sounded exactly like the "real" Superman, and from the sound of the dialogue, had a similar position on the (non) use of lethal force until Luthor's monologue convinced him that that brand of heroism was just, eventually, going to lead the world to destruction. Likewise, the rest of the world—including the other heroes we saw, who seemed identical to their counterparts until some time after Luthor's death—didn't appear to have been signifigantly different from the normal DCU. They called themselves Justice "Lords," but they may only have adopted that name after seizing power. Luthor seemed to be a tad more vicious, but it's not even the same degree of character change the normal DCU Luthor underwent in the last season of the series. In short, seems pretty obvious that the Justice Lords weren't always murderous or dictatorial, but their choices in tactics made them that way. (In the course of two years, in the story...but only after the first commercial break after the prologue/opening credits, to the viewers.)

Jeez...that IS a lot of spoiler tags. Time for to go to bed.

Ununnilium: Oh. I guess I totally forgot about the pre-credits sequence. Still, my point is, there's no point where they seemed rational to the heroes.

Seven Seals: This page is quite funny if you try to fill in the blanks. Though it's questionable whether an example that's almost fully made up of spoiler tags is useful to begin with...

Ununnilium: Well, it's useful to those who've seen the series and want to get a better grip on the trope.

Seven Seals: Of course, since there's always someone out there who hasn't seen some series, taking this idea to its logical conclusion would leave a lot of blanks...

Quote: "The Aesop here is supposed to be the Slippery Slope Argument, but it is fast-forwarded due to time constraints." Is this necessarily true? It seems like it's usually more a case of trying to present a dilemma and then contriving an easy way out by arbitrarily making one of the parties pure evil. —Document N

Caswin: That's... uh, pretty much the same thing. The "fast-forward" part is the "pure evil" bit. Oh, and I'm removing the Spider-Man 3 one; that's not what this article is about. (I wouldn't call it "titanium dioxide white" anyway. Nice metaphor, though.)

  • Spider-Man 3 did a version of this with the gray fading into titanium dioxide white. The Sandman seems villainous, but it turns out that he committed his robbery to save his daughter's life, and killed Uncle Ben by accident alone. Spider-Man is able to forgive him.

  • Avatar had Jet, who seems initially to be very friendly to the heros and is also one of the few of characters they first find activally fighting the Fire Nation. However, his methods prove to be far to dark and blood thristy for the gaang to accept.

Removed, because it doesn't really seem to fit this trope; it's not about Jet starting off questionable but sympathetic, then turning evil, but rather about Jet hiding from the heroes that he was the Well-Intentioned Extremist all along. (Besides, he gets redeemed later, ish, which doesn't usually happen with victims of this trope. Jet was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.)—Annwyd

Caswin: Removing the Deep Space Nine example. Sisko's actions were certainly questionable, well into the gray area - but this page is about characters going from "gray" to "unambiguously black." Sisko might have slid a ways down the slope, but he never jumped.

  • Interestingly, in Deep Space 9, Sisko jumps way down the slippery slope, in order to pull the Romulans into the Dominion War. This involves lies, bribes, forgeries, and even murder. He didn't always know about those acts in advance, but he did sanction them. And in the end, he manages to convince himself that "I can live with it."

Keenath: Removed the following example, as it is an example of standing on the slope, not jumping off.

In the "Hollows" series, Rachel Morgan's use of Black Magic (White Magic just doesn't have the chops to do what she needs to do to save people) leaves her with a very smutty aura, lots of time consorting with demons, and she's always around the edge of the Slippery Slope.

Keenath: I want to question this trope's meaning. Does the jumping party have to actually change their attitude or does the trope still apply if the jumper was ALWAYS black all along and just hiding it?

That is to say, from what I can see, the real basis of the trope is: The heroes meet a fellow do-gooder who uses more extreme methods. The heroes are conflicted about the morality of the new guy's methods but can't deny his results. The new guy reveals that his methods are, in fact, ridiculously over the top and totally evil. The heroes defeat the new guy and never return to the sticky moral question his early actions raised.

Given that outline, there's no need for the new guy to have ever been truly gray. The trope is about the writers bringing up and then avoiding the moral question, rather than actually addressing it.

If that's not what the trope is about, then we need to split this one into "hyper-accelerated slippery slope slides ally from well-intentioned to Well-Intentioned Extremist to Knight Templar in 30 minutes" on one hand, and "bad guy conceals actual intent until heroes find him out" on the other, with both including the element of a sidestepped moral dilemma.


fleb: It includes "the full nature of their methods wasn't obvious at first." The description is vague— all it says is the gray "suddenly turns black," which could mean change in behavior or change in known behavior, and I'm reading it as the latter.

The Pocket: Would it behoove us to have a separate page for Slippery Slope all by itself? I don't know how frequently that shows up in works, but it occurred to me that, for example, dystopian works often "extrapolate" from (negative) modern trends and claim that in the future these problems will be greatly magnified. From Jennifer Government to Rollerball.


Example of: