Saturday, August 29, 2020


So I just spent the whole afternoon purging this blog of the tags for both the naturalistic and uncanny forms of the former trope-category "outre outfits, skills and devices." In their place, I've substituted six separate categories, respectively the naturalistic and uncanny forms of "outre outfits," "superlative skills," and "diabolical devices."

Over the years, I began to become dissatisfied with this portmanteau category. I've done it with other categories when I thought there was a necessary connection between at least two trope-subtypes. For instant, the 1939 WIZARD OF OZ is a dream in the mind of a focal character, while the movie of PRINCESS BRIDE is a fictitious story that never pretend to be anything but such. Yet both the "delirious dream" and the "fallacious figment" work on the spectator in the same manner, IMO-- both in the uncanny and naturalistic modes.

I know exactly why, when I formulated the ten tropes back in 2009, I *thought* there was a necessary connection between uncanny and naturalistic versions of "outre outfits, skills, and devices." I saw them all as projections of a given character's power, and I'm sure two of my main models were Batman and Tarzan. The first is defined by what I now call "an outre outfit" and "diabolical devices," whereas the latter is defined by "an outre outfit" and "superlative skills." If I gave it enough thought I could probably think of a character defined by all three as well.

However, the awkwardness of linking the three tropes together is that it can be difficult to sort out which ones are being indicated. For instance, Poe's story "The Pit and the Pendulum" is all about a diabolical device, and that device defined the power of its villainous makers, what Poe calls "the black-robed judges," though these characters are never seen, only spoken of. And given that the compound contraption of "pit-and-pendulum" is all that defines them, it seemed increasingly inaccurate to associate such characters with characters that sported unusual attire or skills.

And that's how my ten tropes morphed into twelve. I don't intend to correct any of the earlier reviews that used phrases like "outre skills" or "outre devices," but will just move forward from now on.

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