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 Post subject: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:44 pm 
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Some people and tigers like to think Eugene isn't a stereotype. He's grown too far beyond that. He's Christian, he's less snobby, he's married, he's a college professor. But here's the thing.

What makes Eugene a stereotype is, naturally, that he has stereotypical qualities. He's extremely crazy about science and technology and has all the expected characteristics and interests that go with that. Huge glasses, a skinny profile, a big vocabulary, even an interest in chess. And his humor tends to spring from those stereotypical qualities: thinking he's smarter than everyone else, he tries to outdo Bernard at window washing after a few minutes on the job and argues with Connie. Fond of technology, he repeatedly butts heads with Bernard and Tom. Having a rather oversize, nerdy hairdo, he's... attacked by doves.

And that's okay, because what makes a good show is using the comfortingly familiar in new ways. Whit is a cliche really. An old, wise inventor. It's no secret in the writing world that making fresh stories is really using the old in new ways. A romance, however different, is still going to have people who are unsure what they think of each other, who then fall in love and then have a falling out. There's a formula for all stories and to some degree all characters. It's just that sometimes, writers may bring in a character who's especially formulaic for the sheer fun that can result, and we've seen that fun for 25 years.

Now, again, some people don't think Eugene even qualifies as a stereotype because of how much hes' grown. But how does that make sense? Do the stereotypical qualities somehow go away? Does being a stereotype automatically mean you can't have any characteristics beyond your stereotypical ones? No, it just means you are indeed a stereotype, not that you're not anything else!

Conclusion: Eugene is a stereotype, and stereotypes rock.

Now, if you like, talk it up to borrow the colloquialism.

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Last edited by Pound Foolish on Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:11 pm 
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It is true that stories are new ways of looking at things we've encountered before, making them into fresh and interesting combinations is what makes it a success.

It reminds me of this Studio C skit which, incidentally, I watched earlier today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uHUb2qXVdw

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:33 pm 
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Pound Foolish wrote:
What makes Eugene a stereotype is, naturally, that he has stereotypical qualities.


Having stereotypical qualities does not make you a stereotype. It means that you have stereotypical qualities. What makes you a stereotype is if you don't move beyond those qualities, and/or if those qualities are given no depth.

Stereotypes are by definition two-dimensional generalizations:

Merriam-Webster (emphasis added) wrote:
stereotype, n.: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment


Dictionary.com (emphasis added) wrote:
a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group


The Oxford College Dictionary (emphasis added) wrote:
stereotype, n.: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing


One could make the argument that some of Eugene's character traits, specifically those related to his intelligence, are stereotypical (i.e. riding a bicycle, trying to sell "healthy" vegetable flavored ice cream, suggesting a perfectly on-model planetarium for Whit's End, enjoying chess, playing an atypical instrument, et cetera; these are usually considered "nerd" traits), but those are very surface-level. What makes a character in and of themselves a stereotype is found in the above definitions: if that character is "oversimplified", "conforming to a [...] general pattern", a "fixed image", or "standardized". I don't know how anyone can listen to Eugene's character arcs and come out with the impression that he is any of those things (especially since those kinds of bland, two-dimensional caricatures don't get developing arcs in the first place; that's kind of why they are described as bland, two-dimensional caricatures).

You state in your own post that Eugene has developed as a character (and is thus not a stereotype, thus making the rest of your post contradictory), which we saw from some of his first episodes, but I don't think you're really doing him justice. He struggled with making good moral choices in "Eugene's Dilemma" (especially telling in light of his previous misstep in "A Bite of Applesauce, which "Eugene's Dilemma" highlights), he tried with mixed and hilarious results to find social footing and deal with his romantic feelings for Katrina and learned how to act on them in a way that glorifies God, and he grappled with spirituality and ultimately came to terms with his own helplessness without God and became a Christian (seriously, how can you listen to "The Time Has Come" and come away with the idea that Eugene is nothing more than a stereotype?). Even those traits we are deeming stereotypical are fleshed out as part of his character; he's still a bit of a know-it-all, but he's much more self-aware about it by this point and acknowledges that his behavior is flawed, which is a lot more than the walking computers that the run-of-the-mill Smart Guys are limited to in other media.

None of the above describes a stereotype. Eugene may exhibit traits common to the Smart Guy trope, but that does not make him a stereotype on the whole. It's kind of like saying that having traits of a "good Christian"—going to church, listening to CCM, wearing cross logos, attending church camps—necessarily indicates that you have a relationship with God. When I think of Eugene, I think of a kind, compassionate, highly intelligent, analytical, neurotic, witty, friendly, courageous individual who is so much more than "a recognized genius at the Campbell County Community College". Don't limit him solely to a list of stock traits when the show we are discussing does not do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:23 pm 
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TigerShadow wrote:
Having stereotypical qualities does not make you a stereotype. It means that you have stereotypical qualities.

What does that mean? If you meet someone who is pale skinny and into technology, they're not stereotype? Yes they are. (And I have met three remarkable kid geniuses like that by the way. And. Every. One. Of. Them. Wears. Glasses.) Of course they're more than a stereotype, but still a stereotype. It's the same with a character.
TigerShadow wrote:
Merriam-Webster (emphasis added) wrote:
stereotype, n.: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

That's an excellent definition of stereotyping in real life. Obviously, if you meet a rich cheerleader, it would be unfair and almost certainly inaccurate to assume she's a bratty snob. You're relying on your "standardized mental picture", as good ol' Webster puts it, with no real evidence. That's entirely different from the way stereotype is used in literature. Those definitions don't seem to have fiction in mind. They never mention fiction, at least.

The use of stereotypes and their definition isn't set in stone in the writing world. Few things are in that lovely but blatantly inconsistent place. It's like when some writers say, "prologue" they say it with distaste. They mean unnecessary backstory in the form of telling. Whereas those who defend for prologue mean info used later in the story told in an engaging way.

TigerShadow wrote:
None of the above describes a stereotype. Eugene may exhibit traits common to the Smart Guy trope, but that does not make him a stereotype on the whole.

Yes it does. A common cake may be an exquisite experience, with flavor depth and beauty beyond what is expected of cake, but it will still be cake. Whatever you put onto a foundation, the foundation stays there. Think the of stereotypical qualities Eugene as a pile of legos and his other attributes as the finished product.

What I'm trying to say is, Ameraka said stereotypes are a "shortcut" and "lazy." Well, though Eugene is more than his stereotypical qualities, he still has them because of the existing stereotype. The stereotype we're talking about is into science, chess, dresses formally, uses big words, loves computers. We've been over that and the point is, you could still say that's lazy. Because it's still a shortcut. Eugene has his appearance and interests and habits all defined by the traditional science and techno geek. Those are all part of the package, like buying cake mix.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing anymore than taking the creative disciplinary trouble to follow the formulaic rules of a sonnet is.

Finally, none of the qualities beyond the stereotype contradict the stereotype. His being married, for instance. A nerd can't be married? It's not stereotypical for geeks to be married, but it does not go against the stereotype. Or being Christian, or "grappling with spirituality." One doesn't look at a geek either in real life or fiction and think, 'he's a geek so he's not married." Eugene still fits the stereotype.

Eugene is more than a stereotype but still a stereotype. Not according to the Merriam Webster definition perhaps, but in the world of fiction. And he still fits right into the stereotype as well as fits into his vests.
Ameraka wrote:
It is true that stories are new ways of looking at things we've encountered before, making them into fresh and interesting combinations is what makes it a success.

That looks interesting Ameraka, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:07 am 
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Pound Foolish wrote:
TigerShadow wrote:
Having stereotypical qualities does not make you a stereotype. It means that you have stereotypical qualities.

What does that mean?


How could I possibly get any plainer than "there is a difference between having stereotypical qualities and being a stereotype"?

Pound Foolish wrote:
If you meet someone who is pale skinny and into technology, they're not stereotype? Yes they are.


Yeah, I intend to walk up to the next nerdy-looking person I see (by your definition) and inform them that they are a stereotype, and I certainly intend to perpetuate it as a way of thinking. That's not at all toxic or damaging.

What I don't think you're getting in general is that stereotypes are not a morally positive thing. They are a way to deny a group of people their individuality and to instead lump them all into one group, paint them all with a broad brush, and ignorantly misrepresent them for the sake of marginalizing them. Just because you aren't seeing it that way doesn't mean that's not what's happening.

Pound Foolish wrote:
Of course they're more than a stereotype, but still a stereotype. It's the same with a character.


Being a stereotype and being "more than a stereotype" are fundamentally incompatible. The former requires flattening; the other requires rounding out. The two cannot coexist within the same entity.

Pound Foolish wrote:
TigerShadow wrote:
Merriam-Webster (emphasis added) wrote:
stereotype, n.: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

That's an excellent definition of stereotyping in real life. Obviously, if you meet a rich cheerleader, it would be unfair and almost certainly inaccurate to assume she's a bratty snob. You're relying on your "standardized mental picture", as good ol' Webster puts it, with no real evidence. That's entirely different from the way stereotype is used in literature. Those definitions don't seem to have fiction in mind. They never mention fiction, at least.


They don't have to. It doesn't matter if you're writing or not; fiction is not some kind of special snowflake set apart from the rest of the world. Stereotyping is stereotyping; it works on the same principle of oversimplified and often offensive generalization. Using the "oh, but I'm writing, so that makes it different" defense is a thinly-veiled cop-out; real life informs fiction, and the two cannot therefore be compartmentalized into fully separate spheres. Your response fails to explain to me what exactly makes stereotyping different in literature anyway; you've mostly said that it's not the same because...it's just not. I don't find that a particularly compelling argument. =/

It sounds to me like you're attempting to give some kind of handwave for why fiction gets to be sloppy and lazy by hiding behind a barricade of "it's fiction and it's different; it can therefore never be assailed!". Yes, it can, because fiction ought to reflect reality in terms of how it expresses universal human truths. I refuse to accept any kind of "universal human truth" that tells me to whittle multifaceted human beings down to generic labels, and therefore I refuse to accept it in fiction. I will not accept characters who are written that way intentionally, and by the same token I refuse to accept when people attempt to force well-rounded characters into boxes. I am not going to put fiction up on a pedestal when works of fiction play such an important role in forming how people think and how they perceive others as human beings; I hold fiction up to a high standard of scrutiny not because I loathe it, but because I want it to be something better than what it is allowed to be by people who refuse to hear criticism.

Pound Foolish wrote:
TigerShadow wrote:
None of the above describes a stereotype. Eugene may exhibit traits common to the Smart Guy trope, but that does not make him a stereotype on the whole.

Yes it does. A common cake may be an exquisite experience, with flavor depth and beauty beyond what is expected of cake, but it will still be cake. Whatever you put onto a foundation, the foundation stays there. Think the of stereotypical qualities Eugene as a pile of legos and his other attributes as the finished product.


That argument might hold water if the only parts that make up the whole character of Eugene were stereotypical; however, as the show demonstrates and as you say yourself, they are not. Eugene is made up of more building blocks than bland surface traits. The sum of his parts adds up to more than a stereotype, and as I have said before, being a stereotype and being more than a stereotype simultaneously does not work—you are describing a condition of being both flat, boring, and stale and being vibrant, unique, and well-rounded. People don't work that way, and since real life informs fiction, we ought not therefore attempt to claim or create a kind of Schrödinger's Character.

Pound Foolish wrote:
But that's not necessarily a bad thing anymore than taking the creative disciplinary trouble to follow the formulaic rules of a sonnet is.


The most beautiful sonnets in the world didn't just fill up fourteen lines with a bunch of flowery metaphors written in iambic pentameter and get praise heaped upon them for following a mold. It's how the mold was broken that makes a beautiful poem that's worth reading and analyzing. I'm much more interested in "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" than some bland knock-off that does exactly what the aforementioned sonnet was critiquing.

Pound Foolish wrote:
Finally, none of the qualities beyond the stereotype contradict the stereotype. His being married, for instance. A nerd can't be married? It's not stereotypical for geeks to be married, but it does not go against the stereotype. Or being Christian, or "grappling with spirituality." One doesn't look at a geek either in real life or fiction and think, 'he's a geek so he's not married." Eugene still fits the stereotype.


Once again, you're oversimplifying Eugene's character development, not to mention misconstruing my argument. You'll notice that I never attempted to claim that Eugene being married or his Christianity automatically made him break the mold; it was the journey and what he learned along the way and how he grew as a human being. It is his process of growth into more than a flat piece of cardboard that keeps him from being classified as a stereotype, not the simple fact that there are different things about him.

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Last edited by TigerShadow on Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:08 am 
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PF, are you seriously at this again? Once again claiming that stereotypes aren't the least bit detrimental in s story or in real life? The very definition of a stereotype is a "widely held but overly simplified image or idea of a person or thing." While Eugene has stereotypical traits he has grown beyond the simplified image of a "nerd" stereotype.

Stereotypes don't rock. Period. Stereotypes are what cause people to assume things about me that aren't true, and what cause top of the line universities to penalize me 50 points on the SAT, among other things that i won't mention here. So saying that stereotypes rock is extremely ignorant and shows that you don't consider any worldviews except the one of a white male (the least discriminated or stereotyped) when you make these statements, especially after the last thread. Need I remind you of how that turned out?


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:48 am 
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PF, have you even listened to the Eugene/Katrina saga, the Leonard/Eugene saga, Eugene's journey to become a Christian, etc? All of these show how Eugene is much more then a stereotype, to say that he simply is just a stereotypical nerd is absurd. Also, you're making it sound like you'd much rather have a stereotype then a well rounded out character.
Stereotypes are just plain lazy and offensive, I'm not sure why you think that they're so amazing.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:44 pm 
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I have parts of a stereotype. I love to read really love to read, I am smart, and I have glasses. But I am not a nerd. I love to exercise have pretty good muscles and love to work. To be a stereotype, you must be fit exactly to the stereotype.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:52 pm 
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HERE WE GO AGAIN.

-- Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:04 am --

FIRST OFF: As always, I am in 110% agreement with Tiger. Which she should stop doing, there has to be a rivalry between us :(

LET US BEGIN.

Premise 1: Eugene has stereotypical qualities (e.g., wears big glasses, has a diverse lexicon, unusually intelligent.)
Premise 2: Having stereotypical qualities necessitates one's being a stereotype in and of itself.

Eugene Meltsner is a stereotype.

Hmm. Let's change this argument a little bit and see if it still holds up.

Premise 1: My imaginary friend, Trayvon, is a black teenage male and possesses some stereotypical qualities and quirks (e.g., eats fried chicken, enjoys a good watermelon, plays a lot of basketball).
Premise 2: Having stereotypical qualities necessitates one's being a stereotype in and of itself.

My friend Trayvon is a stereotype.

What?
________
Your entire post reeks of irony on a number of levels, mostly because you are compartementalizing Eugene's character yourself and ignoring any of his defining traits that set him apart from the few stereotypical qualities he possesses, something I'm certain most of us due. You conveniently forget the final scene in "Back to Bethlehem," where Eugene exits the Imagination Station and Connie and Whit find him crying. "Eugene crying?" Connie says. "This has been a night of miracles." You forget Eugene's impassioned debate with Chelsea in "Fifth House on the Left," where we see that, contrary to what it might have seemed, he has been internalizing and battling with the myriad questions and truths he's faced over the years at Whit's End. "What if the artificial world you created suddenly collapsed?" he asks Chelsea. "What would you have left?" These are questions he struggles to answer himself, the demons that plague his psyche over the course of the show.


A stereotypical character exists for no reason other than to provide a few laughs, reinforce the audience's mindset on the generalizations of whatever group is being lumped together. A stereotype cannot have played such a prominent role on a show for over twenty-five years; by its very definition, he should be nothing more than a side-character who rattles off inane science facts and sesquipedalian words. But he has loved, and been loved, and grown, and matured, and found and lost family.

You are the one stereotyping Eugene by deconstructing and selectively choosing the evidence that weighs in your favor to deny him his multifaceted identity, his fractured personhood, his achingly real persona. Eugene Meltsner rises above and beyond a stereotype by being portrayed as a growing, developing, and complex character. Otherwise, every single character in all of literature and various other media would be a stereotype, because characters eventually boil down to some basic archetypes. Intimating that crafting a character from essential building blocks is a stereotype demonstrates a poor understanding of how good writing is done.

I like to think the characters I write are well-rounded. I daresay that many of them are, based on the feedback I’ve received and my own self-reflection over the years. But they all start somewhere. Whether they are a wanderer and set out on a road trip, or they’re your mentor archetype/trope, or they simply work as the chummy sidekick, it’s a matter of crafting your character from the (admittedly) limited scope we possess.
In fact, we might as well call all stories a stereotype, since there are only about a handful of basic plots, right? (Some say 22, a few 16, several even say that there are just 2: the characters sets out on a journey, or a stranger comes to town.) Yay, stereotypical, base qualities! Hurrah for everyone writing the same stories and being boring and unoriginal and flat and insipid!

No.
No.
No.

That’s not how it works. And that’s not how fiction works, either. You cannot have real life and fiction separated into a convenient, albeit false, dichotomy. Each influences and perpetuates the other; both are intricately, messily connected. A stereotype in the real world applies in the /exact/ same way to fiction: a generalized, usually offensive, convenient mental compartment in which one can stuff a marginalized group (whether ethnic, racial, sexually oriented, etc.) and live in joyful, ignorant bliss. Fiction will forever influence our perception of the Other, and the real world consistently drives authors around the world to pick up their pen and spill (possibly virtual) ink and transform it into words that detail the present social situation. There is no excuse for fiction. To say so grossly underestimates the situation and provides a very convenient excuse to do away with the ignorant, hurtful attitudes perpetuated by the uninformed masses . . . who are influenced by the media they are constantly bombarded by . . . which are largely driven by the present-day situations the authors find themselves in . . . which—well, my point is made.

You cannot divorce one from the other and set fiction on a higher pedestal where it remains untarnished by the criticism of the “real world,” which somehow is held to a higher standard as if it’s not influenced by any other phenomena. No. It’s all or nothing, and I mean that quite literally.

For your own sake, for the sake of those who are stereotyped, generalized, and marginalized—stop it. Stop forcing Eugene into a box that he doesn’t belong into. Stop compartmentalizing those who should not be compartmentalized. Stop denying the underrepresented and misrepresented their identity.

And let them breathe.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:49 pm 
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Marvin stop being so awesome I can't process how awesome that was to quote sam I can't even right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:11 am 
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Marvin D. wrote:
FIRST OFF: As always, I am in 110% agreement with Tiger. Which she should stop doing, there has to be a rivalry between us :(


There isn't a man alive who can make me stop speaking my mind. ;)

As always, I enjoyed reading your post (it was far less clinical than mine was, and I like a change of pace), but these passages in particular stood out to me:

Marvin D. wrote:
Otherwise, every single character in all of literature and various other media would be a stereotype, because characters eventually boil down to some basic archetypes. Intimating that crafting a character from essential building blocks is a stereotype demonstrates a poor understanding of how good writing is done.


And the thing is, if stereotypes are such a positive thing, why is it that everyone who mentions them usually uses the term with such venom, including accomplished literary critics and English teachers and professors? Something with a connotation that negative probably got that way for a reason, and I highly doubt that it's because a multitide of academics and professionals over the course of years of literary analysis and critique all somehow misunderstood the meaning of a term that any fool can simply look up in a dictionary.

Marvin D. wrote:
Fiction will forever influence our perception of the Other, and the real world consistently drives authors around the world to pick up their pen and spill (possibly virtual) ink and transform it into words that detail the present social situation. There is no excuse for fiction. To say so grossly underestimates the situation and provides a very convenient excuse to do away with the ignorant, hurtful attitudes perpetuated by the uninformed masses . . . who are influenced by the media they are constantly bombarded by . . . which are largely driven by the present-day situations the authors find themselves in . . . which—well, my point is made.


Yes. This section more than adequately articulates the problems with the "but it's just a work of fiction!" defense. The pervasiveness of the media we consume as we interact with it intellectually and emotionally necessitates that we hold our fiction up to a higher scrutiny. We ought to be constantly asking ourselves what this work is trying to communicate and whether what it is attempting to communicate is a good thing. When we condone media representation of toxic attitudes and damaging prejudices, arguing that "well, it's not real, so no one will really be affected!", we downplay not only the malignant tumor that is bigotry—even and especially if it is subconscious—but also the effect that media can have on people's perception of themselves and the world.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:13 pm 
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I haven't read through everything yet, but I'm looking forward to, and may end up responding.

Quote:

Very nice. :yes:

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:28 pm 
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T.S. (myself) wrote:
I haven't read through everything yet, but I'm looking forward to, and may end up responding.

Quote:

Very nice. :yes:

Umm... There's nothing in that quote. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:17 pm 
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Wakko wrote:
T.S. (myself) wrote:
I haven't read through everything yet, but I'm looking forward to, and may end up responding.

Quote:

Very nice. :yes:

Umm... There's nothing in that quote. :P

Yes. There is. A therefore/so symbol. Three dots.

PF, I'm still waiting.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:45 pm 
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I think you destroyed any response he could have.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:28 pm 
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whoopsiedaisy. guess we might as well end this debate then :p


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:08 pm 
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TigerShadow wrote:
Yeah, I intend to walk up to the next nerdy-looking person I see (by your definition) and inform them that they are a stereotype, and I certainly intend to perpetuate it as a way of thinking. That's not at all toxic or damaging
Correct, it’s not. Provided you don’t actually say it aloud to a person you’re unfamiliar with or know is sensitive. (Otherwise, you're right, it certainly would be!)
In any event, I’m not talking about saying it aloud. And I’m definitely not criticizing them when I think of somebody as stereotype. I think it’s just a funny coincidence.
Also, keep in mind, we're not talking about stereotyping in usual sense of the word that is indeed universally condemned. Stereotyping is cruelly assuming something of someone because of some characteristic. A girl in my marine bio class always wears black, dark tattoo ink twists and turns all over her arms, and she shaves her head except for a braid running along the top of her head which she dyes vibrant colors. I didn't assume anything about her. I ran into her and we had a lovely conversation. She's a charming, perky chatterbox of a barista named Leslie.
But, what I'm doing is observing people fit a stereotype. They also are wonderful individuals and have more to them than the stereotype of course, but they fit it. If I were to talk to Leslie and she proved antisocial and depressed like Sammy *ducks, I love you and I truly think you're social, Sammy!* then I would just be observing that about her. But that wouldn't mean I'd assume she's never happy or chatty or that she can't change. I would assume the polar opposite, but I'd still see she's fitting the stereotype at the moment.
However, we are not discussing stereotypes in real life. Maybe it’s wrong, I don’t know. I’m still working that out.
TigerShadow wrote:
They are a way to deny a group of people their individuality and to instead lump them all into one group, paint them all with a broad brush, and ignorantly misrepresent them for the sake of marginalizing them.

Now you're using the term “ignorant” just like Marvin. *sigh* If I implied you were being ignorant you'd probably think I was being a bit uppity.
But anyway, that’s exactly why stereotypes don’t confine people. It’s a “broad brush,” just some basic characteristics. OBVIOUSLY there’s more to them than that handful of characteristics. You’d likely be an idiot to think the otherwise, bluntly.
TigerShadow wrote:
That argument might hold water if the only parts that make up the whole character of Eugene were stereotypical; however, as the show demonstrates and as you say yourself, they are not.

That is what we are discussing, are they compatible.
Quote:
Eugene is made up of more building blocks than bland surface traits. The sum of his parts adds up to more than a stereotype, and as I have said before, being a stereotype and being more than a stereotype simultaneously does not work—you are describing a condition of being both flat, boring, and stale and being vibrant, unique, and well-rounded.

Again, what are we discussing? Are stereotypes in fact boring and one dimensional or can you add other traits. You're again using your conclusion to defend your premise.
TigerShadow wrote:
Your response fails to explain to me what exactly makes stereotyping different in literature anyway; you've mostly said that it's not the same because...it's just not. I don't find that a particularly compelling argument. =/

Oh aren’t you clever. Actually you are quite clever.
It’s hard to explain how or why we use the word stereotype different, we just do. Which sums up the writing world fairly well. But here goes. This first example is from the film universe but it’s still fiction so please roll with it. I was an article by a fairly well known Christian reviewer, Steven Greydenus, who has been in the field for years. He made a list of the father figure stereotypes in animated film. For instance, what he called the, “patriarchal, domineering and wrong then repentant father.” His examples: King Triton and Stoik the vast. I’ve never seen The Little Mermaid (I know, great shame) so I little idea what King Triton is like, but I’m sure you’d agree Stoik is a good character and certainly very different from King Triton. It’s just he fits a stereotype.
I was at a writers conference, and we were doing an exercise to put together a character with suggestions from the audience. We came up with ambitions for them, habits such as pulling at his eyebrow, a love interest and so forth. But we decided he was too much of a stereotype. Now, we had put him together in that very room with tidbits from various writers. Despite that, he resembled the stereotype of the ambitious white collar worker too closely to use as protagonist in a typical story, and we called him a stereotype to suit our purposes.
TigerShadow wrote:
Don't limit him solely to a list of stock traits when the show we are discussing does not do so.
Mr. Whit's End wrote:
While Eugene has stereotypical traits he has grown beyond the simplified image of a "nerd" stereotype.
Wakko wrote:
to say that he simply is just a stereotypical nerd is absurd. Also, you're making it sound like you'd much rather have a stereotype then a well rounded out character.

It comes up repeatedly that I am saying Eugene has a tiny selection of character. Of course, as Wakko says, that's "absurd." I've said from the topic-starter post that I don't think that.

But Tiger said something interesting. (Though everything she says is interesting.) She mentioned Eugene is more than "a list of stock traits." Perhaps that would be a better term than stereotype. I am after all I'm using the word very differently from its usual purpose.

Let us say that Eugene is indeed far more than the list of stock traits we've written throughout this post. But he does include a list of stock traits.

Marvin D. wrote:
PF, I'm still waiting.

Please continue our stalled conversation on the ToO about The Ties that Bind/preparing kids for encountering homosexuality. I was enjoying that conversation. When you reply to me, I will reply to you. :)

On a side note, it's odd that you post literally nowhere else on the entire board. You don't even post on your own homeboard, the ToO, often. (Except to argue with me it seems.) But to formulate a 916 word essay against Pound's opinions'? Yes, Marvin is available. What's more, you've repeatedly called me ignorant, you said in your post my opinion "wreaks" etc. I know these are very personal subjects to you. You are obviously passionate about them. But all this comes out as blatant antagonizing. I know you don't mean to, but my word. And please lay off a bit, okay? Even though I disagree with you I've tried to be friendly and I'm still trying to be friends. If I have been truly rude to you (it's been known to happen, I'm not tactful I know) please just tell me. But please know I'm trying. And I'd appreciate it you keep that in mind. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:22 pm 
Banana Fudge
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Quote:
What makes Eugene a stereotype is, naturally, that he has stereotypical qualities.


google dictionary wrote:
sterotype - a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.


Oversimplified, or a tiny selection. So you are saying it according to the dictionary.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:31 pm 
Coffee Biscotti
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Annnd I just explained, writers use the word a different way from the dictionary. We fiction writers in particular have a way of using words and grammar any way we like. I know, it's annoying.

Think of it this way. A birdwatcher means one thing when he uses the word crane, in another field, construction, they mean a different thing.

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“I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every [censored] field there is: in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time.”~ Ray Bradbury


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 Post subject: Re: Why Eugene is a Stereotype and Why That's Okay
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:32 pm 
Banana Fudge
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...I'm not even going to bother. It's just going to raise my blood pressure.

-- Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:34 pm --

Also, making excuses much?


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