On Tropers and the Concept of “Pandering”

Its been years since I left TV Tropes, but unfortunately that does not mean being free of Tropers, since they spring forth and spread to other sites. They’re like a disease, springing forth from a source to infect whatever hosts they can find.

Since I still have to see their stupidity I’m gonna continue to call them on it.

And one particular bit of Troper Stupidity that got me sick of them was their obsession with “pandering.” Well, not so much “obsession” as much as “fucktarded idea of what that concept entails.”

The thing I’ve noticed about Tropers is that the more personal or unique a work is, the more likely they are to accuse it of “pandering.” Pandering to them apparently means being unique or delineated or touching on ideas that most, more commercial works would not. By contrast, the more generic, soulless, or corporate-driven a work is, the more likely they are to declare it free of all pandering.

Moreso if its a western work. For as much as Tropers are an anime fandom, they seem to also hate anime and have this nationalist belief that Japan can’t produce art because they’re not white middle-class Americans who speak the Queens English. (Incidentally, it was pointing out this disparity that repeatedly got me labeled as a “weeaboo” despite being just as willing to criticize bad anime and praise good western work when I run across it, and preferring western stuff nine times out of ten. But then, who ever heard of a troper who thinks?)

Case in point (and to be fair, Tropers aren’t alone in this one): Mention Kodomo no Jikan. What the manga (I’ll admit that the anime had some needless sexualized imagery, particularly during the ending songs) really is, is a strangely disturbing and heartfelt story of a man learning the hard way that no, children are NOT like the innocent anime lolicon characters like Sasami or Rikku or whoever else–that, in fact, they can be disturbingly adult and have the same range of emotion.

But nope, its about little girls and someone could conceivably wank to it, so its pandering, despite the same sort of thing being done in the novel Lolita and being considered artistic there. Obviously, if the girls were more like your generic innocent lolis it would be more “artistic.”

By contrast, I’ve seen Tropers deny up and down that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has any pandering at all. You know, the show that canonized several fandom memes and renamed several characters who had established names, replacing them with names given by the fandom? Yeah, no pandering there, not at all.

That’s actually all there is to it: The more corporate a thing is, the more Tropers will pretend its art. They do the same to comic books, claiming everything those do is an artistic decision, when most intelligent, thinking people who are aware of comic history know that comics are nothing more than whores who will gladly wear a new face or chase a new trend in a desperate bid for your dollars. Everyone likes gorillas now so lets add gorillas. Everyone likes edgy heroes now so let’s turn previously-established icons like Superman into edgy heroes. Comic fans have problems with women so lets turn every comic book woman ever–even feminist icons like Wonder Woman–into oversexualized whores whose only role is to get raped and killed.

But nope, no pandering there, no siree bob.

For those who are missing the obvious sarcasm (IE, any tropers reading this)… it goes like this: Real, intelligent people see things the exact opposite way tropers do. It’s the corporate work that panders to base interests. The individuals, particularly those who are new, probably only have a vague idea what there even is to pander to.

There’s no better example than Squaresoft, now Square-Enix. Back when they were just a small group of dudes, still struggling to make headway, they genuinely told heartfelt stories that did things most games wouldn’t. When they became a corporate monster though, all the sudden their games became staffed with characters like Rikku and Vanille, obvious jailbait who serves no purpose (as opposed to Palom and Porom’s heroic sacrifice, Rydia’s overcoming emotional trauma and getting a magical age-up, and Relm basically not even being playable for half the game–and you never see her bare legs, either). Probably the best example of this is that the characters Vahn and Penello, in Final Fantasy XII, were both added due to executive mandate, because the original plan was for Balthier to be the hero and they felt gamers wanted teens they could identify with and wouldn’t be comfortable playing as a mature adult (because, you know, gamers just hated playing as Cecil, Locke, Celes… OH WAIT NO THEY DIDN’T!!!) In fact, pretty much any time you hear about a character created “for the audience to identify with,” that means the work is corporate and soulless. Nine times out of ten, anyway.

Doesn’t surprise me. TV Tropes as a website struck me as a hive of corporate dick-sucking, and every other post by them was basically about how indies shouldn’t exist or are always bad because (not kidding here) they might try something that doesn’t work, and oh my god they might create a terrible game or something. No shit, I’ve seen Tropers use Action 52 as a go-to example of why only corporate interests should ever create games, because apparently corps know what people want and never ever make bad games, nor do corps ever make stupid decisions like having always-online DRM or installing rootkits that can break your computer. Only those evil creative indie types do that!

Tropers are so stupid, I can’t even see them as human beings anymore. After all, intelligence is what separates humans from animals, and my cat Yoyo is more capable of holding a logical premise than the entire TV Tropes website. She knows that if she nudges me and then gets me to follow her, I’m likely to feed or play with her. Tropers can’t even use basic fucking english to get a point across without fucking up just about every term in their dictionary to the point where you wonder if they’re not from some bizarro world where all words mean the exact opposite of what you suspect. “Pandering” is just one of the examples they make obvious, but I’ve seen them take other, perfectly obvious reasonings and statements in bizarre directions too. For example I was once told I was being “shallow” for not buying some expensive, just-released game–when it was actually a game I wanted to play but couldn’t afford at the time because I had medical bills (and these particular Tropers had some idea of my medical history, so they had no excuse). Another time, I had posted a video featuring Geo and his then-current girlfriend talking about the Season Three finale of MLP, and they made it clear that A) they don’t have cable or satellite, B) don’t have internet, C) don’t write fanfics and couldn’t possibly know of the Twilicorn controversy ahead of time, and D)… actually have children (one appears in the video, even). And yet when they said they didn’t like the episode in question, guess what the very first accusations out of the Tropers’ mouths were? If you guessed that they were accused of pre-conceived bias because a fanfic or personal headcanon got junked and were incapable seeing it from a child’s POV, you’re correct.

(And no, it doesn’t surprise me that there is overlap between Tropers and Bronies. They’re almost the same thing, really)

The solution is obvious: Round up all Tropers and gas them. With extreme prejudice. PERMANENTLY.

The Worst Happened, but Then the Best Did Too

So, some of my forum and skype friends may be wondering where the hell I’ve been for nearly a week or so. The answer is simple.

My laptop–my one connection to the internet–died.

Okay, it technically isn’t dead. What happened is the port where you plug the power supply in got flaky, and sometimes wouldn’t see the plug even when it was in. So I had a short period where I had to keep jiggling, looking for “sweet spots” and in many cases, holding it there by hand until the battery charged.

Then, finally, there were no sweet spots, and no way to charge the battery, and the device was simply unusable. So, no way to get online.

Not being a man to rest on his laurels, I immediately looked for a replacement, using a friend’s computer to price-check local stores. Since the now-deceased laptop had been a Toshiba, I wanted the replacement to be a Toshiba as well, because of something I predicted (correctly, it turned out).

I found one, a budget model but still ever so slightly better than my old laptop. The only headache was the exact one I anticipated:

Windows 8.1 FRACKING SUCKS

And I didn’t go in wanting to hate it. Truth is that after being reluctant to try XP, Vista, and 7, only to in each case realize they weren’t so bad, I kinda had high hopes for 8.1. Unfortunately the only good thing I can say about it is that it booted up fast. Right out the gate I was asking myself “where is everything?” and “how do I do basic thing X I always do?”

The final straw was when I found out something nobody ever mentions:

By default, you have to use Windows 8 to get into the BIOS.

Let me repeat that:

By default, you have to use the OPERATING SYSTEM to get into the BIOS.

Anyone who works with computers and even those who don’t should immediately realize how fracktarded and wrong that is. The OS should have nothing to do with the bios! But nope… on Windows 8.1, you need to go to that android-looking screen and click on the gear. From there I kept following a line of options that were like, “update and recover” and “recover” and similar-sounding options, usually at the bottom of the menu, and eventually I found one that allowed access into… not quite the bios, but a stripped-down version with lesser options. But from there, there’s an option to restart the PC and go into the really-real BIOS, and you just disable Secure Boot and change UEFI to CSM and… and now Windows 8 won’t boot, but since I had made up my mind already, that didn’t bother me.

Made up my mind about what? Well, by now you can guess: I was downgrading to Windows 7.

Long story short, it succeeded. The only headache was drivers, and I’m in the process of solving that right now. Once I do I’m gonna create an image of this install so I never have to go through all this again.

Anyway, here’s to more internet fun!