Realistic stupidity

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Thread: Realistic stupidity

  1. #1
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    Default Realistic stupidity

    You know those incompetent goons the bad guys use? Those criminals that get off scot-free even though common sense would dictate otherwise? And all those other things in fiction that make you go, "HOW DOES THAT MAKE A LICK OF SENSE?" However, you later discover real life stories that contain these idiotic "plot holes" and lack of common sense among others, meaning those fictional aspects might not be so outlandish after all. It's the trope known as "Reality is Unrealistic" where dumb decisions have a place in reality.

    What I'm getting at is that when we call BS on certain things, we should know that it's not all unbelievable in real life.

    Anyone would like to share their views?

  2. #2
    I'm just Saiyan... PiccoloX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Realistic stupidity

    "Goons", I'm a realistic setting, are not that different than how you'd expect them to be depicted. Following orders of somebody else, most likely undereducated or ignorant of their role beyond "do what this guy says", average people just trying to make money under the control of someone more powerful. Under a different boss I know a lot of people who could be viewed as a "Goon".

    Its a bit extreme, but look at North Korean fur traders. How many do you think enjoy ripping the skin off still living animals? Do you think one of them regrets doing such a thing? Do you think one enjoys the sense of power? Do you think one is indifferent and just does it for the money? All of these things and more. In a story, a "Goon" isn't meant to have a deep background story, otherwise the reader/viewer may become invested enough in their life outside the job that the "Hero" becomes a less favorable character.

    This all being said, the Goons that are given the spotlight are either with or against the hero, but are never viewed too deeply either way. Their role in progressing the story may be key, but ultimately short lived.

    Team Plasma is a good example of divisive Goons. They didn't work for a bad guy, at least in some of their minds, but the cause itself which was rather virtuous. They even dressed like Knights. Team Flare, however, is ignorance in its purest form. These people are just fodder.
    Last edited by PiccoloX; 15th January 2014 at 02:10 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Realistic stupidity

    Villains are always most convincing when the author at least implies their motivation or reason for doing what they are doing. Even the lowliest of henchmen. After all, who would kidnap a pretty woman and stuff her in the trunk without reason to?

    Money? Fear? Belief in a cause?

    how do they justify their actions in their heads?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Realistic stupidity

    Haha, sounds mighty similar to our Lin debate.

    People are stupid in real life. I get that. People can (or should, perhaps, although fiction is hardly what I'd call "realistic") be stupid in fiction, too. However, for the audience to believe that this realistic stupidity is even possible (yes, I sense the irony here), the party that's doing what we call "stupid" should at least have its motives addressed. Decision-making is hard, and oftentimes real people make the "wrong choice". I get that, too. But they spend time making the "wrong choice," and they have reasons for making the "wrong choice," and at the time, making the wrong choice seems like a really, really good idea.

    I think of it sort of as the polar opposite of making the "right choice," which can also seem unrealistic. Think about how a character might outplay another character--the best example I can think up of right now would be a Holmes-ian level deduction or something. It seems almost stupidly unrealistic that Holmes can, say, deduce the nature of the murder from looking at an absurd clue like a dish of milk, but when he finally gets around to explaining properly his thought process, his actions become believable.

    So, tl;dr: yes, realistic stupidity is a thing that I wish happened more in fiction--it certainly gets boring watching people always be right. However, I often find attempts at realistic stupidity to be rushed or without much attention given to the motivation for said realistic blunder, which makes the act of not-right feel more like a plot point rather than a realistic occurrence.


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