Selling Critical Thinking Pills For 5 Minutes Of Your Time A Piece

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Yes, that’s right. You can get smarter just by listening to me and obeying like the good sheeple you are. Now more so than ever before.

Hey there, folks. I’ve recently been thinking a bit about people on the Internet who just shouldn’t be allowed to talk. And to be a bit more specific, I’m talking about the kind of person who tries to be a smartass while relying on wisdom imported from not-so-trustworthy sources. Like, maybe you’ve had a situation where you’ve just finished reading a book, were very impressed, put it aside, shared your thoughts with others and then some random moron came along, stating some ludicrous bullshit like “Oh wow, you liked that shit? It’s packed with clichés! For instance, the protagonist is a typical case of A Protagonist Shall Lead Them! That’s been done before! Not so original now, aren’t we?”

And you may be forgiven for thinking that clearly, this guy has had a drink too much somewhere along the way but he is just part of a far, far bigger problem out there that plagues us all: Idiots who read TV Tropes and then speak like the literature experts they really aren’t. It probably says a lot about the non-existent personality of someone who reads what’s essentially an expert fanfic guide to your vacuum cleaner to sound smarter in the process. I mean, come on, just look at this shit or at the very least the last two paragraphs:

TV Tropes What The Fuck

And believe me, these people exist. They are out there. You might have already encountered one of them. Quite frankly, this reminds me a bit of when Madoka aired and people couldn’t tell a single soul what was so good about it but dude, it’s a DECONSTRUCTION and not to mention, so FAUSTIAN! Often stated by individuals who had never read Faust themselves, mind you.

Sometimes I even wonder what people who throw trope terms at me expect me to do. Shriek, run away and alert everyone else of my kind: “BE CAREFUL, THEY HAVE WISDOM!” Is that it? Then welcome to a world of intellectual laziness. Because you’re worth it.

And while I’m at it, I’d like to point out that whatever buzzword you picked there either for or against a piece of media, these are just descriptive terms. Not normative ones. Most of them have no qualitative bearing on their own. So don’t try to use them for praise and contempt, thank you very much.

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Quoting terms from TV Tropes and passing that off as “”criticism”” is essentially the same as wearing a dunce hat that says “I AM FUCKING ILLITERATE”. Congratulations, you’re a pretentious tryhard. You have formed no thought on your own or contributed anything of value but would really like to add some input to the debate. You’re a parrot, that’s all you are. Not to mention that what you’re doing here essentially, at best, boils down to pointing out what has been done within the context of writing but not how so, meaning the entire process of execution gets left unmentioned. Well, clearly Psycho-Pass is a masterpiece for its high-concept premise and clearly Fune wo Amu is baaaaad since it’s about a guy making a dictionary. Oh, wait, one had massive plot holes, terrible exposition and cheap shock effects whereas the other flourished from having well-written, grounded characters in a setting that cared a lot about authenticity yet never lost its human core. Yet wanna guess which of them has the more exciting TV Tropes entry?

Now this thing down here sounds like it has at least something going for it, I wonder just how good exactly it i- oh wait that’s Mars of Destruction, never mind.

TV Tropes Mars of Destruction

And it’s not just TV Tropes. There is an entire format out there that lives by this nonsense. Far, far more popular are channels such as CinemaSins, really bent on turning you into a master critic. The way this works is that these channels point out every so-called “issue” within the writing of a work of fiction and do that for ten seconds per issue before moving on to the next one, almost always mysteriously reaching the higher double digits. Man, these movies and whatnot out there sure are full of flaws!

Except most of their points of criticism oftentimes can be easily disproven. You don’t even have to think a lot about them. You just have to THINK AT ALL. But of course you don’t since that’s the complete opposite of CinemaSins, which gives you ready-made thought packages. Insert those into the speech bubble automaton (that’s you by the way) & repeat after them. You’re not an active voice in the matter, you’re a passive machine for input by watching these videos.

What you need to understand is that the people who make these videos don’t think too deeply about each and every “issue” they proclaim since that would hinder them from making their videos. It’s more of a shotgun approach, they take whatever they can get and smash it to the wall. The purpose of making a long video not for information but entertainment (read: cheap laughs) stands in direct contradiction to evaluating every single claim and putting it in context. After all, why would you cut down on your video? That shit makes you $$$.

Point is, if you feel smarter just by watching that drivel, you’re probably a fucking idiot.

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And you wouldn’t believe how many tools are out there all like “I really liked this movie but then I watched your videos and they really made me think.” No, it didn’t make you think. It made you swallow words and accept everything that happened onscreen. Just like that movie did. I bet there are people out there who watch a movie and then immediately move on to CinemaSins and its ilk. Twice the fun. Man, just imagine the popcorn bills!

The big issue here is that they’re all flash, no flesh. People watch these for comedic effect mostly, not the purpose of information. Since there isn’t much information to be taken away. This is favored by the fact that criticizing something makes it easier for entertaining writing styles to flourish. Lauding something not so much. Making compliments is boring. Performing a string of diss raps is not. Hey, did you see that YouTuber over there? He just DABBED on that TV show you absolutely hate. Better pick up his talking points, mate!

And, quite frankly, it’s all just so primitive:
1.) SIN IDENTIFIED
2.) QUICK, MAKE THAT “BING” SOUND
3.) AH YES, THE SIN COUNTER IN THE CORNER WENT UP AGAIN, GETS ME EVERYTIME

No doubt these beat ’em up-esque damage numbers truly are wise content for the most intellectual of chessmasters, almost as subtle and brilliant as the famous sitcom laugh track. Though, to be fair, at least laugh tracks have some sort of appeal to them. If I wanted to hear a collection of binging WhatsApp notification sounds, I’d go for a public transport ride packed with teenagers and those stuck at the fitting mental age.

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Yet it’s not hard to see why these formats thrive. First of all, they make others feel intellectually superior. 10 to 20 minutes of enlightenment. Appliable to all sorts of online debates so you can have some good ammo ready. And arguing on the Internet is about being superior to others after all.
Secondly and this is just as important, there also aren’t any entry barriers. You wanna feel smart? Well, here’s your “GETTING SMART FOR DUMMIES IN 20 MINUTES” package. It’s a bit like those book titles that promise you to get fluent in a language within a month. Except this is easier. Since watching a video without having to do anything on your own requires no effort on your part. It’s the easiest thing in the world. And clearly none of what’s said in these analysis pieces is wrong since hey – there’s video footage! Now that counts as evidence. Proper context and crediting an entire narrative is for the weak. We have movie snippets after all.

Besides, most people who watch something like this aren’t those seeking for counter-opinions to their own to figure out what others have to say (there would be far better places for that) but those who have already formed an opinion on something and want it to be reconfirmed. Or just come for the cheap laughs. Being in the right doesn’t really matter all that much. Hitting something does. And the satisfying “oomph” sound that comes along with it. And these video creators know it.

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Coincidentally, I would like to believe that my blog title is the deepest thing you’ll have seen all day and can be applied to this situation: You see that mountain over there? Beyond that awaits you a world of wonders. Yeah, it says “frills” and by that I mean “goth lolis” but as stated, that’s pretty much a world of wonders. But first you have to – by the way, that’s a Kokou no Hito reference in case anyone didn’t get that – climb the mountain. Which is an undertaking. So yes, sometimes things that are worth it take an effort to go for. More effort than letting LITERATURE TRUTHS AS STATED ON YOUTUBE BY SOME GUY™ flood through a funnel directly into your system, you spoonfed dipshits.

But in a world where parodies, Everything Wrong With formats, mindlessly reciting tropes and just plain ol’ cynicism are the quick access to “film critique”, “Ooga Booga, Dis Dumb” is the only statement to be found. Congratulations, you are now the dumbest person in the room.

So stay the sharpest tools you could possibly be, my readership of 3.5! Someone’s got to do this after all!

2 thoughts on “Selling Critical Thinking Pills For 5 Minutes Of Your Time A Piece

  1. Pingback: Dark Magical Girl Anime: They Don’t Have To ‘Get’ Madoka | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

  2. Tropes are more like cataloging narratives. Do you know Aarner & Thompson? They did something similar for fairytales. Of course they did that for research. But TV Tropes shouldn’t be held accountable for some arrogant prick’s behaviour…

    As for YouTube, not all videos have the same quality obviously. If you go for something for clickbaity title of course it’s more likely whatever. There are a couple of anitubers that I respect and I find interesting to listen to their opinions and observations. Sometimes it’s a different analytical lens, sometimes is something in regards to sakuga that I’m not very knowledgeable about. I don’t think it has to be just swallowing down someone else’s words

    Like

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