Friday, December 20, 2013

Tropes I Don't Like (Part 1)— The Power Of Love

Today I'm starting a new recurring feature called Tropes I Don't Like. This is not a list of tropes that are bad, and I'm certainly not saying they can't be done extremely well. This is just a list of tropes I don't like, and therefore will not use in my writings.

Today's trope is The Power Of Love, but more generally, the concept of emotions having physical power.

This trope rubs me the wrong way in much the same way that religion rubs me the wrong way— it makes human experience the centerpiece of existence itself, saying, in essence, I feel it, therefore it must be physically potent. It registers strongly in my subjective experience, therefore its power must be objectively strong. What goes on in my head is perfectly reflective of the universe as a whole, therefore something that matters to me must matter to the universe at large. It privileges humanity to a grotesque level, and reduces everything else to a slightly overcomplicated human support system, which shatters my suspension of disbelief and makes me want to send very strongly worded missives to the responsible writers and their mums.

If a writer can pull off a story wherein humanity is objectively the most important thing in the universe without making me cringe, then this trope may slide but otherwise giving physical potency to human emotions is a trope I hate and will never use.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

They Actually Said It

So in previous posts explaining why I don't think marketers are human, I snarked that marketers seem to think people have "emotional connections" with brands. Unfortunately, my satire fell victim to the saddest death that satire can face.

I found this article in the Wall Street Journal about Facebook's intrusive new video ads (and reason #7 why I will never use Facebook). And in that article, I found this quote:

"Video is really powerful," said Shelby Saville, managing director at Spark, a media-buying unit of Publicis Groupe SA "Using sight, sound and motion is a way to get consumers to have an emotional connection to the brand, if it's well done."

Seriously. They literally believe that people have "emotional connections" to small pieces of intellectual property and the legal fictions that own them.

I have no idea what planet marketers originally come from, but I think many of us would prefer it if they could all go back there.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Random Things

Last night, I dreamed I was a werewolf. According to the dream, werewolfness was an autosomal recessive inherited condition, because my dreams like to be specific about those sorts of things. Symptoms typically manifest in mid-teens to mid-20s and include pronounced excitement or anxiety at the prospect of the next full moon followed by turning into a wolf for the duration of any night in which a full moon is in the sky. Exact nature of the symptoms vary, with some werewolves retaining full mental faculties while transforming physically while others act like wolves for the duration of their transformation.

In the dream, I secluded myself in a construction site for my first transformation, and discovered that I transformed physically while remaining mentally human. Except the next morning, I discovered that I'd killed four people who were trespassing in the construction site. After reverting to human the following morning, I was captured and imprisoned by an organisation that hunts werewolves but sued for my freedom on the grounds that being a werewolf isn't actually a criminal offence.

I was actually surprised to discover my subconscious wrote what sounds like a passable story. I don't think I'm actually going to write it though.