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Tropers / Shai Pa

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“And after thinking it over, I agree with me.”

I first discovered TV Tropes when an article linked to Stuffed In A Fridge. From there, I read about Fridge Logic, and from there I became addicted. Every movie I saw I thought about the tropes that would apply. Every new trope I saw I looked for examples they didn’t consider. I used to go to the movies every weekend and see every movie nominated for an Oscar, but having kids made this much more difficult. Troping helped fill that void.


My favorite activity on TV Tropes is adding tropes to media pages, though more recently, I have more enjoyed adding page quotes to trope and media pages. Below I provide list of pages where I have added either page quotes or more than five entries. But first a little (more) about myself …

Speaking of me …

  • The '80s: When I was born and still my favorite pop culture decade, largely because of Saturday Morning Cartoons, the best sitcom theme songs, and the best music in general (at least compared to The '90s and subsequent decades).
  • The '90s: The decade I was in middle school, high school, and started college. While I prefer 80’s pop culture in general, Films of the 1990s are my absolute favorite.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: I am a professor, and I am really scatterbrained.
  • Alternate History: I enjoy reading about this both for entertainment and for study. Fatherland and the WorldWar series are among my favorite novels, as is Nineteen Eighty-Four (which could technically count as Alternate History). I have now expanded my professional research to include how we consider counterfactual questions as a means of evaluating the past and forming policy for the future.
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  • Babies Ever After: As of this writing, my wife and I have three children.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: My wife and I met in grad school, and we did not like each other when we first met. She thought I was a loudmouth, and I thought she had too much attitude. But I saw that with her attitude came a strong self-confidence that did not get distracted by what other people thought of her. She discovered that with that loud mouth came strong passion and dedication. And we both discovered we had strong self-deprecating senses of humor.
  • Black and Nerdy: Oh. Yeah.
  • Child of Two Worlds: I lived in a working-class black neighborhood, but my parents sent me to school in the neighboring wealthier white town. It gave me a foot in both worlds, but not fully part of either.
  • Christianity: My faith has been the rock and center of my life since I was in college. I used to have severe problems with anger and honesty, but through the love, power, and truth of Jesus Christ my life was completely changed. And it has been a great surprise and pleasure to see how Christian Scripture, doctrine and culture are discussed on TV Tropes. Despite becoming a Christian in college, I am not blind to the faults of the church. Jesus said that they will know we are His disciples when we love one another and when we love our neighbors, our enemies, and the stranger. We have a lot of work to do to fulfill that call.
  • Cool Big Sis: My older sister and I are very close, and she is largely responsible for my love of both history and pop culture analysis.
    • When we were kids, we would watch Saturday Morning Cartoons together, and she would ask questions like, “Why can’t anyone tell that He-Man and Adam are the same person?” or “Why doesn’t Voltron form the blazing sword immediately to kill the Robeast?” No other kids were interested in these questions, so we were each other’s only outlet.
    • One time while watching an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., they mentioned Watergate, and I asked my sister what that was. Rather than answer the question, she just handed me her history textbook and kept watching the show. I ended up reading multiple chapters that night and never looked back.
  • Cool Teacher: I try to integrate my love of pop culture into the classroom by using pop culture examples to demonstrate political concepts, particularly regarding international strategy and game theory. I once had an essay option on a final exam to break down the strategic logic of “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. Clips I show at the beginning of class sessions to demonstrate concepts include:
  • Deadpan Snarker: I’ve been accused of being this Up to Eleven. When I was a high school teacher (for two years), I told one of my students I used to be really sarcastic when I was in high school. He looked surprised, and I asked him if it was hard for him to imagine me as sarcastic. He responded, “No, it’s hard to imagine you being more sarcastic than you are now.” Ouch.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: My wife and I officially got engaged after six months of dating, but we first talked about marriage after dating for only six weeks.
  • Good Stepmother: True of both my stepmom and stepdad.
  • Happily Married: I will shout it from the rooftops! I thank God everyday (or, at least, I should).
  • Joisey: Where I’m originally from (though no one from NJ pronounces it this way. This is how New Yorkers say it).
  • Like Father, Like Son: I look almost exactly like my father. It’s pretty freaky.
  • Make-Out Kids: Ummmm … my wife and I may have had some PDA issues when we were dating.
  • Mama's Boy: My mother was my closest friend when I was a teenager.
  • Manly Tears: I’m not afraid to shed tears when something really moves me. For years, it was mainly anything involving relationships between fathers and sons. Then it was anything tied to worship. Now, it can be a lot of things. I am quite prone to getting Sand In My Eyes.
  • Meta Guy: Even before it was a thing. Hence my love for TV Tropes.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Played with. My parents are both black, but both my step-parents are white. My siblings from my father and stepmother are therefore biracial.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: My wife and I have served as foster parents for over a year, though it still remains to be seen if any of our foster kids have secret powers.
  • Nephewism: My mother is one of nine siblings, so I have a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins. When I was five, one of my uncles, two of my aunts, and several of my cousins moved in with us. Many of my cousins are as close to me as siblings, and my aunts and uncles are like semi-parents.
  • Nerd Glasses: I've worn glasses since I was 13. Soon after I got married, I switched to contacts but after my first child was born, I went back to glasses. I have too many things going on to worry about putting in and taking out contacts.
  • Not a Morning Person: Something every person who’s ever lived with me has had to learn. Having kids makes this even worse.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: My wife and I met in grad school, and we both have Ph.D.’s.
  • Politics: What I got my Ph.D. in and what I teach as a college professor.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: I was a high school student in the mid- to late-90s, when being a nerd started to become an issue of pride. My friends and I started to refer to ourselves as nerds, which was still uncommon at the time. I remember one close friend who hung out with the cooler kids asking me why we called ourselves nerds. I answered, “They’ve been saying it for years. We decided to just embrace it.”
  • Raised Catholic: Though never a declared Catholic, I went to Catholic school from Pre-K through fourth grade.
  • Regime Change: The topic of my dissertation.
  • Smart Mark: My uncle and I bonded over our mutual love of Professional Wrestling (I almost always say WWF rather than WWE), and I still keep up with it today, though more through podcasts than watching the shows. Even when I found out it was “fake” when I was 9 or 10 years old, I didn’t care. By the time I was teenager, I had a ready comeback to anyone who said it was fake. If I was talking with a friend, I would emphasize how hard wrestlers worked and put their own lives at risk, even if the outcome was predetermined. If it was someone who heard me talking about wrestling and felt like giving an unwanted opinion, I would remind them that unless they were watching the news, it was all fake. Sometimes I would add, “Ross and Rachel aren’t really a couple. You know that right?”
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: When my wife and I started dating, several people hinted to me that they were surprised I had such an attractive girlfriend. They weren’t the only ones!
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Once my parents split up, this was the main way my father and I interacted through my pre-teen and teenage years. When I became an adult, we developed a much closer relationship that is still quite strong today.
  • Work Com: I work in the best office. My co-workers and I constantly cracking jokes (especially about each other), but we also have a lot of very meaningful discussions, and we pray together each week. It really is like out of a TV show.

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