Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

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rmsgrey
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:13 am UTC

Angua wrote:So, I'm sure there's a Supernatural thread around here somewhere, but this gripe applies to a lot of similar shows. They always talk about how regular people not in the know are at more risk because they'll end up dying or whatever trying to fight x monsters. However, this completely disregards all the people who are dying now because they don't know about the danger.

Eg in Supernatural, no one would be possessed if they all had those tattoos, which would probably be mandatory from birth? Everyone would have silver on them.


There's a fairly common position that ignorance conveys a degree of protection/defence/immunity against supernatural threats - muggles may still occasionally get picked off by predators, but nothing's actively seeking any particular individual - but the moment someone pierces the veil, they become a specific target, and are actively attacked (or at least interacted with) rather than being limited to incidental contacts. Small consolation to someone who's mauled by a werewolf, but a lot healthier for their friends who aren't so unlucky...

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Flumble
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby Flumble » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:12 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:but the moment someone pierces the veil, they become a specific target, and are actively attacked

Sure, any single individual who learns of the underworld may become a target, but if you inform the public at large you're back to no one being a specific target. However, now everyone is protected against possession ...and is prejudiced against people in gothic outfits.

rmsgrey
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:20 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:but the moment someone pierces the veil, they become a specific target, and are actively attacked

Sure, any single individual who learns of the underworld may become a target, but if you inform the public at large you're back to no one being a specific target. However, now everyone is protected against possession ...and is prejudiced against people in gothic outfits.

In some settings, you can't be possessed if you're genuinely unaware of the supernatural world either - and the defenses against possession used by those in the know have limitations.

If only some people are protected, then there needs to be a strong reason to target a particular individual for it to be worth putting in the effort to bypass or overwhelm the protections rather than choosing a different, softer, target; if everyone's protected, then there are no softer targets, and possession will be done the hard way.

Or, of course, there will be idiots who are prepared to make a deal that allows their possession in exchange for... well, once the deal's made, and the possession takes place, it no longer matters what the agreed price was unless it entertains the possessing entity...

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Soupspoon
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:38 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:In some settings, you can't be possessed if you're genuinely unaware of the supernatural world either - and the defenses against possession used by those in the know have limitations.

Also an argument about (IRL) missionaries. The 'noble savage' that does not know of God cannot be truly blessed, but also cannot go to Hell upon death. You go out there and 'educate' them and suddenly they're susceptible to punishment for their sins (trivially easy to accumulate, in life) and if one can't implement the full infrastructure of holy absolution by a suitably ordained individual (and maybe not even then) you've relegated many of this new potential flock to an eternal damnation they never would have suffered beforehand. (But all this depends much upon particular theological standpoints, and there's too many of those to argue about.)


But, back to undisputed fiction, note the efforts of the self-improving (and self-innocculating) de Magpyrs of Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum. In an inverted example they, as a vampiric family, have managed to practice mithridatism against most of the many anti-vampire protectives traditionally employed against their kind (usually by rather specific locales, where they work because they are believed to work), such that they have learnt to withstand not just one type of holy symbol they might have been susceptible to, but all the myriad holy symbols of the Disc, which they have studied at length. The same with other traditions (obscure things to do with sand, lemons, etc) that ought to be shared only between a remote microregion's vampires and its equally local population of villagers.

It doesn't go well, for various reasons I won't explicitly spoil, though that's only after their actual reversal of fortunes that I'm not spoiling at all. But it does rather illustrate the ready for anything/ignorance is bliss dichotomy.

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Angua
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby Angua » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:04 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:but the moment someone pierces the veil, they become a specific target, and are actively attacked

Sure, any single individual who learns of the underworld may become a target, but if you inform the public at large you're back to no one being a specific target. However, now everyone is protected against possession ...and is prejudiced against people in gothic outfits.

This is certainly not the case in Supernatural though, and if it was given as a reason then that would be understandable, but it often isn't?
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rmsgrey
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Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:47 pm UTC

Angua wrote:
Flumble wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:but the moment someone pierces the veil, they become a specific target, and are actively attacked

Sure, any single individual who learns of the underworld may become a target, but if you inform the public at large you're back to no one being a specific target. However, now everyone is protected against possession ...and is prejudiced against people in gothic outfits.

This is certainly not the case in Supernatural though, and if it was given as a reason then that would be understandable, but it often isn't?

This may come back to the nature of tropes. There are a whole raft of things that are commonly tacitly assumed in fiction, without any attempt to justify or explain it - like the fact that unusual things keep happening to or around the heroes, in a setting that's otherwise assumed to be pretty much identical to our own world - an assumption that only holds if what happens to the heroes is exceptional. Sometimes that can be explained by a combination of the heroes behaving unusually (for example, by actively seeking out the weird happenings) and a pretty standard selection hypothesis - within reason, cumulative weird stuff is going to happen to someone somewhere, and then that's the person you tell a story about, rather than the seven billion people who don't. But selection can only cover so much - if a reporter decides to write a story about multiple jackpot winners - that is, people who have won the jackpot in more than one lottery drawing - then being able to find one or two people who've hit the jackpot twice would be credible. Finding someone who has won five times would make it more likely that there was some sort of cheating going on.

So, particularly in a long-running series, there's an implication that there's some force that makes the heroes disproportionately likely to be affected relative to the muggles. But here's where we come back to the nature of tropes (and genre) - once enough works have established that, say, getting a glimpse beneath the veil opens you up to further interactions with the otherworld, with well-reasoned explanations and mechanisms for it, then other works in the same genre start adopting the consequences without bothering about the reasons behind them (unless they become directly relevant to the story). Over in SF, how many stories where the hyperdrive or the stargate is just a background way of getting between interesting points in space bother to explore the theory behind them? Ninety years ago (give or take) you could hardly pick up a story where hyperspace travel occurred without reading some variation of the folded napkin analogy...


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