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"No one can be told what the Matrix is" - "complicated" media that isn't

s/LaSH

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"There is nothing more merciful, I think, than the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents." Or however that Lovecraft quote goes.

But let's be straight: There's a giant psychic squid monster on a sunken island in the Pacific. Conventional weapons are useless against it. One day it'll wake up and that's gonna suck, sure. Not particularly incomprehensible, though, however much we might not want to think about the prospect.

(People in the story do experience mental health issues. A sailor dies of shock, because he knows exactly what's happening: a big monster is chasing him and eating other sailors and he's going to get caught and die. An artist's brain is touched by Cthulhu directly, and he doesn't know what's happening, so he makes drawings and shows them to people and tries to figure out what's going on. They're pretty straightforward reactions to a way-out situation. Nobody's flipping out because their brain cannot contain the information it's receiving.)
 

King Snarf

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Maybe this is more for the "misconceptions" thread, but Frozen.

"They never explain how Elsa has powers!"
"Yes they do. She was born with them. Seriously, all those X-Men movies, is it THAT hard a concept to grasp now?"
 

Old Toby

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And Crisis on Infinite Earths was partially intended to simplify DC continuity to make it easier for new readers.

The question of exactly how a reader who was confused by the old continuity was supposed to comprehend Crisis or the concept of the 'Post-Crisis' continuity apparently never came up...
"Our continuity is too complicated, what with the alternate worlds and contradictory storylines..."
"Well, can't we just start over, try to keep everything straight this time?"
"Nah, our readers are too invested in some of the old stuff."
"So, I guess we should keep the old stuff that's important, and dump the rest of it. But it'll be a lot of work to sort out what to keep, and we could easily make mistakes about what the fans want..."
"Sort it all out? Why bother. We'll just say it's a new universe and some, but not all, the old stuff still holds. Then the creators of each series can work out what they want to keep and what they want to change!"
"But we will, at least, be trying to prevent further contradictory storylines? And to make sure all the writers working with a character are onboard for the same changes?"
"Do you have any idea how much work that'll be? Nope. Just "New Universe, old stuff may or may not apply". That'll give us free range to work with..."
"So to simplify things, we're replacing a complicated record with stories happening on multiple worlds with a situation in which all those stories on all those worlds may or may not have happened on the same world, and making very little effort to make sure we're consistent in which are which? And this is supposed to make the whole thing simpler?"
"Well, not all the stories and all the worlds. Some will be eliminated right away..."

Y'know, I could forgive them for thinking this would work the first time...

. While people talk about the differences between the two companies now, the stylistic differences were much larger back then, with more episodicness in a lot of DC comics, and while DC books had been moving in the direct of more unified and more longer term story stuff that became the norm of comics to varying extents, they wanted to really sell everyone on the change and show that it applied to DC as a whole, not just Titans.
I think this is in some ways understating the issue, and in other ways overplaying it, by treating it as an issue with the actual storytelling, when the actual problem lay more in DC's self-image and the burden of history.

One has to remember that when Marvel started its modern run of superhero comics, the image of comics, both for the general public and the insiders, was "kiddy stuff". And DC was square in the center of this image. DC had been one of the most enthusiastic adopters of the Comics Code, in part because their trademark fare was particularly well adapted to the anodyne, de-intellectualized demands of code compliance. The target audience for comics was something like "ages 7-12" and I believe one editor was on record as saying, essentially, "feel free to just straight up repeat a story that's over 5 years old, because no-one in the audience will remember the original". DC comics were goofy, silly, children's stories that sometimes just plain contradicted each other.

Then Marvel came along and started producing titles that, even if they weren't completely free of "Silver Age silliness", at least aspired to serious drama, and had strong internal continuities and at least some consideration of cross-title continuity. And Marvel's sales blew DC out of the water. They didn't just dominate the existing market, they opened up new markets, first of teens who didn't "grow out of" their books, then of adults... By the late '60s DC was trying to copy the style on some titles, and it probably dominated their books by the mid '70s. They even tried to "out-adult" Marvel with edgy, experimental titles, sometimes with a decided (cleaned-up) underground comics influence. And yet Marvel still dominated the market. They actually had a brief return of Silver Age silliness in some titles in the early '80s, perhaps influenced by the Super Friends cartoon, but by that time the "kids market" for comics were dying. You could still sell comics to some kids, but they were mostly the kind of kids who grew up to be comics fans, and they bought their books at specialty comics shops, killing the newsstand trade.

I haven't done a systematic survey, but my impression is that by c.1985, even most of the neo-Silver Age stuff had been abandoned for "serious comics", and DC was... at least not noticeably worse than Marvel at managing continuity across its then-current titles. But sales remained well below Marvel's (at least on a per-title basis. IIRC, DC had far more titles and greater total sales...) and there was still a distinct stigma around having been the goofy, kids' comics company. And at a time when continuity was becoming increasingly important to comics fans, DC still had all that embarrassing Silver Age stuff in its continuity: Batman had still traded blows with Calendar Man, and Wonder Woman still used to ride a giant kangaroo...

So the Crisis was a way of very publicly saying "all that silly stuff is dead, dead, dead. We're a serious company that does grown-up comics now!" In terms of actually simplifying continuity it was (as outlined above) a disaster, but it did let them disavow a lot of earlier stuff they didn't care to carry. But then some of the stuff they targeted was very poorly chosen, like Supergirl and alternate universes...

Old Toby
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DarkStarling

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"There is nothing more merciful, I think, than the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents." Or however that Lovecraft quote goes.

But let's be straight: There's a giant psychic squid monster on a sunken island in the Pacific. Conventional weapons are useless against it. One day it'll wake up and that's gonna suck, sure. Not particularly incomprehensible, though, however much we might not want to think about the prospect.

(People in the story do experience mental health issues. A sailor dies of shock, because he knows exactly what's happening: a big monster is chasing him and eating other sailors and he's going to get caught and die. An artist's brain is touched by Cthulhu directly, and he doesn't know what's happening, so he makes drawings and shows them to people and tries to figure out what's going on. They're pretty straightforward reactions to a way-out situation. Nobody's flipping out because their brain cannot contain the information it's receiving.)
Yes, all of that. Stuff in Lovecraft... there's a lot of it, and it's often disturbing or weird. But as sci-fi goes it's pretty mundane.
 

Old Toby

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(People in the story do experience mental health issues. A sailor dies of shock, because he knows exactly what's happening: a big monster is chasing him and eating other sailors and he's going to get caught and die. An artist's brain is touched by Cthulhu directly, and he doesn't know what's happening, so he makes drawings and shows them to people and tries to figure out what's going on. They're pretty straightforward reactions to a way-out situation. Nobody's flipping out because their brain cannot contain the information it's receiving.)
Because their brains can't correlate their contents.

If they really put it all together, than every thing they do would have to be done in the face of the crushing realization that not only is there no heaven, loving god, or karmic principle to ensure ultimate justice, but that every waking moment of life and sanity they enjoy is due to the collective whims of any number of incomprehensible-yet-clearly-malignant entities that have no good will toward man, and against whom there is no reliable defense.

Instead they just file that under "some philosophical/religious shit" and go on with their lives, never connecting one thing they know with the others; i.e. never correlating the contents of their mind. It's a mercy, really...

Old Toby
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Agamemnon2

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I think we're back in the "Criticism that completely misses the point" thread at this point.
 

AliasiSudonomo

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Because their brains can't correlate their contents.

If they really put it all together, than every thing they do would have to be done in the face of the crushing realization that not only is there no heaven, loving god, or karmic principle to ensure ultimate justice, but that every waking moment of life and sanity they enjoy is due to the collective whims of any number of incomprehensible-yet-clearly-malignant entities that have no good will toward man, and against whom there is no reliable defense.

Instead they just file that under "some philosophical/religious shit" and go on with their lives, never connecting one thing they know with the others; i.e. never correlating the contents of their mind. It's a mercy, really...
I think we're back in the "Criticism that completely misses the point" thread at this point.
Heh, kinda. Since "there is no heaven or loving God, necessarily, and you are a cosmic accident" is what a lot of us call "another Tuesday", hardly a cause for utter insanity.
 

Old Toby

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Heh, kinda. Since "there is no heaven or loving God, necessarily, and you are a cosmic accident" is what a lot of us call "another Tuesday", hardly a cause for utter insanity.
Well, you're getting the "no god" part, but not the "but lots and lots of devils. And they're much less predictable than the red guy with the little horns" part.

And, of course, your mind isn't correlating all its contents even with that. Mind you, I don't think doing so would make "no heaven or loving God" a mind-breaker, but if you put together all the stuff in your brain... yeah, you'd probably be a drooling idiot. Cognitive dissonance is the grease of reason.

Old Toby
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Tyrmatfrage

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I’ve always taken “fully correlated its contents” to be like... you know when you have to cram for a tough exam the following day and after a while your brain feels wrung out with stuffing so much... stuff into your brain? Like that, except instead of “just” what you learned about a subject over the semester, it’s full knowledge about absolutely everything and the cramming is happening all the time and doesn’t stop. I can see how you could go insane from that.
 

DarkStarling

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Well, you're getting the "no god" part, but not the "but lots and lots of devils. And they're much less predictable than the red guy with the little horns" part.

And, of course, your mind isn't correlating all its contents even with that. Mind you, I don't think doing so would make "no heaven or loving God" a mind-breaker, but if you put together all the stuff in your brain... yeah, you'd probably be a drooling idiot. Cognitive dissonance is the grease of reason.

Old Toby
Least Known Dog on the Net
Honestly? The universe of Lovecraft isn’t that much worse than Star Trek. But people take that fact very different ways.

I mean heck, The Elder Things could easily have been Federation members of not for the whole slavery issue with the shoggoths
 
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