Reed Richards Is Useless

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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby bladestorm » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:23 pm

Oberon wrote:
drachefly wrote:He was making fun of what you're complaining about...
And you arrived at that decision, how? All I saw was a homophobic remark without any insight on the topic.
bladestorm wrote:Reed Richards isn't useless; he is just written by people who are far less intelligent than he is, and written by several people with very little overarching guidlelines as to how he should act.
No, that's the entire point. Reed Richards is able to solve whatever situation he is faced with using high tech, and yet still not change the world with that same high tech. Stan Lee is quoted as saying that every time Spiderman swings down the street that people will stop and say "Wow! There goes Spiderman!", so that his appearance will never become jaded. On Stupidworld he'd be a commonplace event within months... This is the reason for the subject line, the unremarkable nature of same sex relations in Erfworld.

Again, that is just lazy writing, applicable to several writers all writing for the same comic. It describes the 'what's, not the 'why's. The 'what' aspect include that Reed Richards cannot solve societal problems via the same tech that saves the planets from destruction at the hands of this month's bad guy, and that Spiderman must be spectacular whenever someone sees him swinging overhead. From your argument, the 'why' is because Stan Lee is quoted as saying so, and that is just accepted as canon, nothing to see here, move onward. With that reasoning, Reed Richards just stops thinking and goes way into the Dumb, because he has to be useless to validate a quoted statement.

Your argument is that he CAN'T fix the world's problems. My argument was that (provided he had ever been written sufficiently) he COULD, but he WON'T because he calculated out the risks and consequences involved if he DID. The trope itself gives plenty of aversions, lampshading, parodies, and denials of such uselessness, and nearly all of them stem from throwing a ton of different writers at the title with varying degrees of success. Erfworld doesn't follow that same setup. Of the 8 motivations set forth within the trope, none of them apply to Erfworld except possibly #7, but we have no real way of knowing without braintapping the one and only author.

If anything, Reed Richards is Useless is the antithesis of what you are trying to discuss. Whatever equivalent Erfworld has of Reed Richards has already massively changed the world, all the way through the physics, mentality, morality, life cycles, flow of time and space... basically everything. Erfworld is fundamentally different that our current world; Reed Richards is Useless actively tries to prevent that fundamental difference from happening.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Alpha the White » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:58 pm

A few things I'd like to point out:

1. As mentioned above (concerning functional buildings), there is sufficient evidence that Erfworld seeks to be somewhat simulationist of Stupidworld (or, more likely, a fantasy version of Stupidworld). Enough is different about Erfworld that the extent of that simulation is extremely uncertain, so speculating that any one characteristic need not be part of the simulation is going to be sketchy at best. To draw from the aforementioned example, you can suggest "well, sexuality has no real impact on erfworld mechanics, so there won't be any stigma." On the other hand, there's no reason for buildings to have a real impact on erfworld mechanics either, but they do. They just do, and that's one of the things that confuses Parson the most, isn't it? There's really no legitimate reason that an empty lumber mill with a saw and everything should be necessary to create lumber or at all impact production, when the saw doesn't get used.
"But Alpha, it's already been pointed out that sex has no mechanical effect, while buildings definitely do!"
While true as far as we know, we still don't know enough of the Titans' intentions to say that a characteristic of Erfworld life without mechanical effect will have no simulationist ties in their design.
Furthermore, we still don't actually know that sex has no mechanical implications. The suggestion that Crush is Scrofula's son, while probably wrong, still raises the prospect that a ruler's relationships could impact the nature of the heir, and sexual orientation may well be part of that (e.g. Jillian's relationship with Vinnie might impact the impending heir, while if Wanda had turned to Faq, their relationship might have ended up having no impact on the heir regardless).

2. There's an unspoken assumption that if the authors didn't try to stifle Reed Richard's impact on the world, he would be come commonplace, or people would become jaded to Spiderman's presence. While likely true in Stupidworld, this is only an empirical observation of the way things work in Stupidworld. There is little to no reason for us to expect Erfworld people to work like that, not just because we don't know the author's intentions on that front (see my last point), but because by Canon the Titans have a direct and obvious effect on the character of every single Erfling. There is no room in Erfworld for arguments of psychological/neurological evolution, or social darwinism, or any such thing. Inheritance appears to play some role, but ultimately every unit popped springs forth fully-formed, with innate knowledge of the way things work, and apparently some inherent opinions. There is no reason for us to assume that opinions on sexual orientation are not part of that pre-formed psyche for many or even most Erflings. All we can say is that the few homosexual relationships we've seen so far (mostly involving Jillian, who, besides being bisexual, comes from a side for which the description "unorthodox" is an extreme understatement) haven't seemed terribly stigmatized.
On the other hand, the few homosexual encounters are a bit more stark given that the signs we've seen of sexual orientation in most units have been overwhelmingly heterosexual (A few examples: Transylvito's sluts, the Sizemore and Maggie's assumption that Parson would want a female, the hobgobwin guard's reaction to Wanda's interrogator outfit, etc. etc. Even the two women for whom we've seen the most indication of homosexuality--Jillian and Wanda--really appear to be bisexual).
Maybe this is just because heterosexuality makes more sense in an anatomically-correct sense, but I think it unlikely. More likely, the Titans designed the Erflings to mostly be heterosexual, and exceptions are either by design or the result of post-pop psychological experiences and choices (which would suggest that both Jillian and Wanda appear to be bisexual because their homosexual desires are superimposed on the biologically heterosexual urges they were popped with, and their attraction for females is a combination of choice and experience). That's just speculation though, as it's equally likely that the Titans just made Jillian to be bisexual.

The upshot of the previous is that if heterosexuality is a norm, then discrimination against homosexuality is likely to follow, and we have insufficient information to say what the norm really is, and how heavily it is enforced either culturally or divinely.

What we CAN say is that prejudice against homosexuality is sillier in Erfworld than in Stupidworld (as Oberon says, at least in Stupidworld we know there's a mechanical purpose for heterosexuality), and unless the Titanic Scriptures say something about it (unlikely) or the Titans really are trying to enforce global heterosexuality (also unlikely: even if everyone is popped straight, there are no examples of fate trying to prevent a homosexual relationship; quite the contrary, in fact, it seems Wanda and Jillian were "meant to be" on some level), such prejudice should be one of the first things to go away in an "enlightened" side.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Lipkin » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:52 am

Edit: Starting new thread.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Kandarin » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:06 am

Sure, the lack of marriage, procreation, venereal diseases, and other Stupidworld limitations on sex would logically lead to a lack of homophobia, if homophobia - and prejudice in general - had logical roots. But the one thing that is more or less unchanged between Erfworld and Stupidworld is human nature, and human nature inclines people to circle the wagons and mistreat those who are different from them to feel better about themselves. We've seen plenty of examples that prove that Erfworlders are just as prone to this as we are - characters who resent or look down on others for their caster discipline, unit type, tribe, Signamancy, etc., etc. even though neither they nor the objects of their scorn usually had any say in these things. Homophobia might not be institutionalized in most sides, but as long as people have a tendency to look down on others for being different from themselves, it'll exist somewhere.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby drachefly » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:03 am

Oberon wrote:
drachefly wrote:He was making fun of what you're complaining about...
And you arrived at that decision, how? All I saw was a homophobic remark without any insight on the topic.


You're right. Sorry.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Alpha the White » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:08 pm

Oh hey, Kandarin hit that right on the head there.

Something to consider:
1. Slately looked down on Tramennis, in part because of his Signamancy.
2. What Signamancy? Well, it seems clear to me that Rob has written Tramennis to appear fairly effeminate.
3. Ergo, effeminate Signamancy is a subject of Erfworld prejudice.

The remaining question is: is effeminate signamancy viewed as an indicator of homosexuality in Erfworld, as it is in Stupidworld?
If so, the question of prejudice is answered directly by Slately's example.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby drachefly » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:43 pm

I'm not sure it was so much 'effeminate' as 'small and not muscled'.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Alpha the White » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:43 pm

drachefly wrote:I'm not sure it was so much 'effeminate' as 'small and not muscled'.

I might accept the not muscled part, but Ansom was a pretty short guy, and Slately himself was certainly much shorter than Tramennis.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby drachefly » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:04 pm

Slately knew he had all the signamancy of a turnip.

Ansom was not very tall like Ossomer, but he wasn't short.

Also, Tramennis' face is rounded. He's basically just this guy.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby wih » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:59 am

Alpha the White wrote:
drachefly wrote:I'm not sure it was so much 'effeminate' as 'small and not muscled'.

I might accept the not muscled part, but Ansom was a pretty short guy, and Slately himself was certainly much shorter than Tramennis.


Small and Short are not necessarily the same thing.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Lipkin » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:00 am

Trem has the signamancy of a diplomat. Short, non-threatening, and friendly. Slately didn't see the value of a warlord who wasn't a big warrior type, so he looked down on him.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Shai_hulud » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:36 pm

drachefly wrote:
Oberon wrote:
drachefly wrote:He was making fun of what you're complaining about...
And you arrived at that decision, how? All I saw was a homophobic remark without any insight on the topic.


You're right. Sorry.

It was neither. I just thought a discussion about two guys doing it turning into a discussion about meat storage was amusing. It did however fail to add any insight to the discussion, so you've got me there.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Alpha the White » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:22 pm

Lipkin wrote:Trem has the signamancy of a diplomat. Short, non-threatening, and friendly. Slately didn't see the value of a warlord who wasn't a big warrior type, so he looked down on him.

I can buy that.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby ftl » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:06 pm

Alpha the White wrote:Slately himself was certainly much shorter than Tramennis.


Didn't slately look down on his own signamancy too? I don't remember the quotes, but I think I remember getting the impression that he thought his own short stature means he was weak as well.
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Re: Reed Richards Is Useless

Postby Lilwik » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:49 pm

ftl wrote:Didn't slately look down on his own signamancy too?
That is beautifully exemplified in Book 2, Text 33. I'm not sure that's the only place it is mentioned, either.
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