Wednesday, 12 March 2014

5 Commonly Used Tropes That I Don't Understand At All

Tropes are something. They're elements in a multitude of different medias that for one reason or another, have been able to spread out for long periods of times. They're factors that help to create the structure of a story and allow you to relate better to the material or give it a sense of logic. es, tropes are a vital part of this world, and it would be incredibly hard not to find something that falls under one of these ideas. But have you ever stopped to think about why the trope exists? Why is the anvil the most commonly dropped object on cartoons' heads? Why are ancient Egyptians usually the same color of skin when there are debates about what race they really are? Sure, a few searches may answer some of the questions, but you can still feel like it won't click with you the right way. You'll still be sitting there, watching the same sort of thing happen without comprehension. These tropes basically make me feel that way. Now, I want to make it clear that just because I don't understand these tropes, it doesn't mean that I'm necessarily against them. They just don't seem to click, that's all. Without further ado, let's get it started.

5. The nosebleed of arousal

There isn't many other places outside of Japanese entertainment where you see it, but it's still something that I feel should be said. The scenario goes that an incredibly attractive woman is near a dude and immediately the poor guy's leaking red from his nostrils. It doesn't matter if she was leading the guy on for some dirty business or if she merely crossed his path without her noticing, the blood immediately drips out. My first guess was that it might be a cultural aspect, much like how the ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the brain. Perhaps the nose was a sexual organ and in order to show excitement, a bit of blood had to come out. But if that's the case, then why isn't there more women that have a nosebleed when a guy with a rockin' bod comes by? I rarely find the inverse occurring, and it's not like anime ladies are being deprived of sexy men. The only other option I could think of was that it was a means to sneak past censors and now has become a softer way to imply it. You know, like if you wanted to sneak a dirty joke, you make a kid nosebleed when he sees his hot teacher. That in mind, there's probably a lot more creative and clever ways that the animators can imply sexual undertones, and most of the nosebleeds I've seen usually take place in material that is not meant to be so family friendly. For all I know, it could just be a running gag with unknown origins that continues to be used just for the sake of it.

4. The owl is the wisest animal

I'm just gonna shoot this down right now, I know that the probable origins of this occurring stem from religion or mythology, but I still think it doesn't work. Okay, it does work, but that's more of a matter of the design taking a good deal of liberties to make the owl look wise, not the owl itself having much of a wise look to them. Owls can be a variety of different characters as far as I know. They can be quirky little buggers on account of their rotating heads and adorable bug-eyes. They can be pretentious bastards with their smug visage and bizarre walk. And they can be menacing creatures when they look upon you with a disgusted glare and let out their spine-tingling call. At best, the owl can look old, but it's never wise. I don't think to myself, "You know, that owl has probably seen some crazy shit". If anything, I usually think, "Man, that owl is doing some crazy shit." Personally, the turtle is a wiser animal to me. They're slow, sure, but they seem to be very aware of their surroundings, considering they can live up to 100 years. Considering that wisdom isn't necessarily relative to age, another pick would be the wolf. They might be more wild, but they carry themselves with a good amount of pride and balance their attributes accordingly. Maybe I'm not the best source for which animals embody which attributes. I mean I think moths are adorable and butterflies are harbingers of doom.

3. Aliens love high-culture

As far as we know, it is possible that there is other life out there. The chances of us meeting that life or understanding that life may be incredibly small right now, especially in our lifetime, but it is possible that those aliens might act similarly to us. It's also possible that these aliens might be smarter than us since we might believe that they could come to us with their UFOs or whatnot. Thanks to Star Trek, we also might believe that they will have more of an affinity towards literature like Shakespeare or Moliere. Far be it from me to trash talk this trope because I find the verbose extraterrestrial to be a very awesome trope. The thing is that what makes us so sure that the alien will look upon the work that we consider to be the cream of the crop and consider it valuable to us? It's very much possible that aliens might look upon the more common material to better understand humans than those a specific elite choose. I could imagine that later on they might decide to go with some high class work, but I don't think all of them would do it, especially from the get-go. Besides intelligence doesn't necessarily have to equate to having a good understanding of high culture. It could very much well be just culture itself. Not only that, but it's also possible that they're more the "point-and-shoot" kind of aliens. No harm in these sorts of speculations, as far as we know, we're all right and wrong about alien life.

2. The French are cowardly

Something tells me that at some point in time, the French were the laughingstock of the world, kind of like how the US is. Most of it consisted of them being snobby egotistical jerks or how much they loved Jerry Lewis. One of the widely used jabs that came along at the time must have been that those funky-smelling, beret-wearing baguette-eaters will run at the mere sight of trouble. Now, I'm not the king of France because I still have my head attached to my body, but I think that they can actually be pretty courageous. I'm going to assume that this stereotype had come around the second World War where Paris fell down faster than you could say Jean Luc-Godard. Considering that France at the time was a huge military power, they were probably expecting a little more of a fight. One has to remember that Germany was dominating with their blitzkriegs, catching a great deal of nations by surprise. And might I remind you that France was and still is one of the biggest names in war. They've fought in 168 wars, 109 of which they've won. Couple that with the fact that a lot of military words are derived from the French along with how incredibly ballsy some of the French are when it comes to doing things for the sake of art (Man On Wire proves my point significantly because anyone who has the balls to walk on a wire between the Twin Towers wins points for their nation) or when they're really upset. Hell, even when Vichy came along, the French weren't simply sitting on their asses heiling Hitler. Some of them went to fight with the resistance, which if you can tell, is a word derived from the French. That's gotta be something to at the very least recognize. I wouldn't be surprised if the main reason that American-French relations are tricky stem from the belittling of their successes. Or maybe it could be that whole Bush thing.

1.  Black people love watermelons

Look, I'm very much aware that this is an obvious pick, and I know I'm not the only one to point this out, but as far as stereotypes go, this is the most baffling for me. The other stereotypes, as offensive as they are, make some sense (though I think fried chicken is more universally loved rather than being a specific race's choice of cuisine). This on the other hand seems like a non-sequitur meant to offend someone. Granted, the French stereotype is probably equally as insulting, but at least you can say that the army doesn't reflect how the people themselves would act. With this, you're just throwing a random object, and trying to attribute it to a group of people with a negative connotation. Nothing really indicates to me that black people are incredibly fond of the fruit, and when I see it, it's usually done ironically to make fun of such a ludicrous stereotype. But much like I don't know much about the French, I can't be so certain that I know the black man's preference. Still, it will not make sense to me, nor will it ever make sense to me, no matter how hard you try. It might make me laugh, sure, but I'll only laugh because it's so random, not because I find that sort of racist humor particularly funny.

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