The Goon who Kicked the Tropers’ Nest

For­give me for the title; I’ve been on a Stieg Lars­son ben­der over the past week or so, which you can blame on the Fincher/Craig/Mara movie. The Eng­lish movie led me to the books and the Swedish movies. As of today, I’ve fin­ished Hornet’s Nest (the novel). It’s rel­e­vant, I promise.  My first post delved into the ideas of “sub­jec­tiv­ity” on the wiki, and my sec­ond about the com­mu­nity. In ret­ro­spect, those two barely scratch the sur­face; this’ll be a bumper post touch­ing on some stuff which, them­selves, may get a blog post unre­lated to TV Tropes.

The best place to start would be indeed the page for Larsson’s Mil­len­nium tril­ogy. A quick expla­na­tion: the tril­ogy is a (some­what) fem­i­nist series and Lars­son does not skirt around the fact that misog­yny is com­pletely wrong. The first book, in Swedish, is lit­er­ally trans­lated as Men Who Hate Women. It could be joked that he’s the anti-troper. About a third of the way through the first book, the series’ female lead, Lis­beth Salan­der, is bru­tally raped by her legal guardian, Nils Bjur­man, after she asked him for money for food. That it was a (admit­tedly botched) plan at entrap­ment is irrel­e­vant to the fact that the rape still takes place. Luck­ily, I’ve not found any­one on the web­site say that the char­ac­ter “deserved” it because she was pre­pared to give Bjur­man a blowjob for that evi­dence (q.v. the Law and Order: UK episode “Alesha”)

But place­ment is every­thing. The fol­low­ing two quotes link to the trope “Moral Event Hori­zon”: defined as “the first evil deed to prove a par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter to be irre­deemably evil”. One is on the main page, the other on the YMMV page, which is designed for sub­jec­tive tropes:

Bjur­man — who is Lisbeth’s legal guardian and care­taker — crosses this line when he forces her to per­form oral sex in exchange for the money she needs to replace her com­puter. And then longjumps even far­ther over it when he vio­lently sodom­izes, rapes and tor­tures her.

Lisbeth’s treat­ment of Bjur­man is so harsh that it bor­ders on Moral Event Hori­zon. But it was so pre­cise and inge­nious that it could qual­ify as a Crown­ing Moment of Awe­some: rather than killing the man, Lis­beth opted to make Bjur­man suf­fer the exact same abuse he put her through, up to every lit­tle detail, includ­ing the rape and the black­mail, just to make him real­ize how it felt.

The revenge, for what it’s worth, is Lis­beth con­fronting him with recorded evi­dence of the rape and threat­en­ing to go pub­lic if he even so much as sneezes the wrong way, cul­mi­nat­ing in him tat­too­ing “I am a sadis­tic pig, a per­vert, and a rapist” on his abdomen.

So, have you guessed which one is on which page? Because you’re wrong. The rape is on the YMMV page; her revenge is on the main page.


See, there’s a trope for char­ac­ters like Bjur­man: rapists, child abusers, the geno­ci­dal, the utterly evil: it’s called “Com­plete Mon­ster”. By rights, there should be stuff so heinous that it’s just objec­tively morally wrong, no mat­ter how many peo­ple defend it: Sam Har­ris makes this point in his book The Moral Land­scape (which I’m read­ing right now). Another user raised this exact point a year ago, and this was Fast Eddie’s response:

Com­plete Mon­ster is thor­oughly subjective.

And Fast Eddie has the gall to call Crazy Goggs a “gap­ing ass­hole”? Crazy Goggs never defended rapists. There’s worse stuff too, on the YMMV page for the Mil­len­nium tril­ogy: for exam­ple, an equiv­a­lence is drawn between Bjurman’s bru­tal rape of Lis­beth, and Lis­beth hav­ing con­sen­sual sex with a sixteen-year-old in the Car­ribean. Luck­ily, that last one was picked up on.

But the TV Tropes com­mu­nity seems to have this fix­a­tion on rape; at the moment, the SA thread’s sub­ti­tle is “Why the fuck do they have such a fix­a­tion on rape?” For exam­ple, a week after Torch­wood: Mir­a­cle Day fin­ished, the TV Tropes page had, for the pre­vi­ous two months, said that Oswald Danes, a child moles­ter who’s last words to say he was going to join his vic­tim in hell so he could chase her for­ever, was a “debat­able case” of Com­plete Monster.

I now defer you to these quotes about rape ini­tially found by the won­der­ful peo­ple in the Some­thing Awful thread, who have a much higher tol­er­ance for star­ing into the abyss than me.

Okay, you know what, I’m fuck­ing done here. I am not going to sit around and look for exam­ples of the com­plete fes­ter­ing pit of shit the TV Tropes forums are. These are just a hand­ful of quotes of dozens the SA thread as found. And I’ve cov­ered this plenty of times: the com­mu­nity on the forums leaves a lot to be desired to become “nor­mal”, given that racists, misog­y­nists, and homo­phobes can talk free from criticism.

This is the thing about free speech: it either exists, or it doesn’t. The forums claim to have this non-judgemental atti­tude sim­i­lar to Wikipedia’s “don’t be a dick” guide­line, but it’s not free speech at all. Free speech includes the right of some­one to say to a rape sup­porter “no, you’re a fuck­ing piece of shit”. But the only recourse against these hor­ri­ble peo­ple is the bro­ken mod­er­a­tor sys­tem, and it’s well known that most of the staff are power-hungry bas­tards. I’m for free speech — why do you think I have Arti­cle 19 on the side­bar? — but I absolutely detest this mock­ery of the concept.

In Decem­ber, the SA thread became aware of a forums user who was well-spoken but was crit­i­cal of these ele­ments: Annebeche. As far as I can tell, the first men­tion in the SA topic was her call­ing a racist a ter­ri­ble per­sonEven one of her sig­na­tures was an act of civil dis­obe­di­ence. In effect, she was a Goon lost in the mires of TV Tropes, and she received admi­ra­tion for it. On Decem­ber 19th, this drama came to a head when two users, Yeah Bro and Dis­as­ter Grind, came to the forums and strongly crit­i­cised both the wiki and the forums: Yeah Bro focused on the site’s attempt to over-categorise square-shaped fic­tion into round-shaped tropes; Dis­as­ter Grind focused on the forums community’s obses­sion with rape and gore.

Fast Eddie, pre­sum­ably dri­ven para­noid by the SA thread’s focus on his site, didn’t like that, and imme­di­ately dis­missed and banned the two users for being Goon infil­tra­tors who are just hear to com­plain. Anne took Eddie to task… and got banned too. This was a mas­sive deal, and trop­ers that either the banned three or SA crit­i­cised or made fun of jumped to their defence. Even­tu­ally, an appeal to the mod­er­a­tion was launched in a thread. So far as I can see, the admin­is­tra­tive staff just hid behind the “troll/SA inter­loper” defence and refuse to enact changes. Anne, for her part, stumped up the $10 and is now one of the ros­ter of fre­quent posters in the SA thread. And all the while, Fast Eddie remains wil­fully igno­rant to the prob­lems of his site, and thinks so highly of him­self he feels he can demand a Stan­ford researcher remove men­tion of SA in a project of his.

Over these past three posts, we’ve estab­lished that Fast Eddie is an incom­pe­tent power-mad freak, who would rather pro­tect rape apol­o­gists and set lit­er­ary crit­i­cism back than actu­ally lis­ten to crit­ics; I mean, Jesus, even a bro­ken clock is right twice a day. There’s just one thing that could save him: his cod­ing skills. Or lack thereof. He’s run­ning a heav­ily cus­tomised ver­sion of pmwiki, yet can’t use CSS back­ground prop­er­ties or if/else switches prop­erly: things I knew how to do when I was four­teen. The forums are so buggy that Eddie’s avatar was once hacked. The parser is so hor­ri­ble that a user tried to play with it to see what tricks he could pull… and was imme­di­ately accused of being a goon. I wish I was jok­ing. He tried to fix this, hor­ri­bly, mak­ing more cod­ing mis­takes than I would. And they were live, as he clearly didn’t think of using a shadow copy of a site to beat test things. Poet­i­cally, I noticed this on the page for the Mil­len­nium trilogy.

Escaped enti­ties? What’s that? Oh, hello, mys­te­ri­ous “hello”!

And, for the record, I’m aware of SA’s prob­lems, espe­cially GBS/FYAD. But, bet­ter the devil that bans pedophiles, right?

But, that’s it. I’m fuck­ing done with this tril­ogy of posts star­ing into the abyss. I know that I’m a lot more… terse… in this posts, but there’s lit­tle point in the dry com­men­tary with peo­ple like this. The first part of the tril­ogy is my most pop­u­lar blog post, and it’s actu­ally, to my sur­prise, on the first page of results for TV Tropes. I’m going to heed and agree with the SA thread’s instruc­tions: there’s no fix­ing TV Tropes, so just let it die or shrivel into irrelevancy.


  1. Michael says:

    For the record, the rea­son “Com­plete Mon­ster” and “Moral Event Hori­zon” are on YMMV is because peo­ple kept putting stu­pid exam­ples like Mr. Krabs on there, so they just moved it to sub­jec­tive so no one would get the impres­sion that a char­ac­ter from Sponge­bob is objec­tively a hor­ri­ble demonic being of pure evil.

    It’s dumb, but there it is.

    • MagcargoMan says:

      The rea­son peo­ple even put Mr Krabs under those tropes in the first place is because in one episode he drove Plank­ton to Suicide.

      I’m not jok­ing:

      I’m not deny­ing that most trop­ers over­re­act and get over-emotional over the stu­pid­est things, but as I fan of Sponge­Bob I’m just explain­ing why that trope is even brought up for him.

  2. Sarah says:

    That it may often be a sub­jec­tive judge­ment does not make it always sub­jec­tive. Pidgeon-holing tropes into “always sub­jec­tive” vs “always objec­tive” is stu­pid. But then again, so are a lot of tropes.

  3. Anne Beeche says:

    Well, I am truly flattered.

    Thank you very much for this post, you have spo­ken the truth.

    But tech­ni­cally I didn’t buy my way onto SA. The account was a gift from a friend.

  4. Michael says:

    Com­plete Mon­ster is sup­posed to be “this char­ac­ter is being pre­sented to the audi­ence as a very, very, very bad per­son with no redeem­ing qual­ity” so yeah, it should prob­a­bly be more or less objective.

  5. ÜberShyGuy says:

    And to think, if not for get­ting per­ma­banned for call­ing out the mods on this sort of shit with­out the knowl­edge that it was so endemic, I’d have never known this arti­cle even existed.

  6. Aeg says:

    You seem to care about this way too much…

  7. Colonel McBadass says:

    Goons laugh at tsunami vic­tims and sui­cide bait peo­ple. You have no right to be judg­ing any­one. That job belongs to some­one sen­si­ble and unbi­ased, like me.

  8. Colonel McBadass says:

    Seri­ously, though, even if I were a pedophile, there isn’t a sin­gle one of you who’d be morally supe­rior to me. Putting aside the fact that they have a men­tal dis­or­der, where you have no such excuse, what they’re guilty of is look­ing at things peo­ple find dis­gust­ing. I’m not fond of what they do, either, I think it’s repul­sive, but when a guy says he’s going to jump off a cliff, and you tell him to go ahead and jump… Well, whether you’re mur­der­ers or not depends on if you had good rea­son to believe the per­son you’re taunt­ing would carry out his threat.

  9. Colonel McBadass says:

    I’m going to see what Webster’s def­i­n­i­tion of pedophile is. That won’t get you to change your mind.

  10. Colonel McBadass says:

    Alright, I’m back! Here’s pedophilia: sex­ual per­ver­sion in which chil­dren are the pre­ferred sex­ual object. One more time that’s: sex­ual per­ver­sion in which chil­dren are the PREFERRED SEXUAL OBJECT. Now here’s ado­les­cence: (the kind of peo­ple I’m attracted TO yet have no pref­er­ence FOR, so I don’t even qual­ify as a… that word you men­tioned.) the period of life from puberty to matu­rity ter­mi­nat­ing legally at the age of major­ity. Here’s an exam­ple: Their chil­dren are on the verge of ado­les­cence. One for ado­les­cent: Their chil­dren are now ado­les­cents. Inter­est­ing. It seems that chil­dren and ado­les­cents are two dif­fer­ent groups, and that you have to a spe­cific pref­er­ence for CHILDREN to count as a pedophile. No pref­er­ence for them, and they’re not chil­dren, so I am by def­i­n­i­tion of the world’s #1 dic­tio­nary, not a pedophile! B-I-N-G-O! M.F.

    • illumnaughty says:

      That’s a whole lotta words to say “I’m a pedophile in denial.” Tell me, do you think your pref­er­ence for kids who couldn’t out­run you stem from the metal­lic clangs of all vagi­nas within a three-state radius snap­ping shut the moment you step outside?

      • Colonel McBadass says:

        Hey, man, don’t blame me. I know it sucks when some­one makes you look like an idiot, but you could have looked up these words any­time you wanted. Now you know bet­ter. When some­one says “I don’t think you know what that word means”, you can swal­low your pride, look it up on Webster’s, and avoid get­ting a crip­pling blow to said pride.

        • illumnaughty says:

          Hey man, it must suck to be so inse­cure you have to jus­tify your pedophilia by rules-lawyering THE DICTIONARY. PROTIP: ephebophilia isn’t an accepted med­ical term. No one makes the dis­tinc­tion between ado­les­cents and chil­dren but pedophiles. You want to fuck kids. You aspire to kid-fuckery. And deep down, in your heart of hearts, I think you know that too. :)

          • Colonel McBadass says:

            Colonel McBadass: Oh, this guy’s a riot! HaHa! Enjoy the show Major? Major McBadass: My favorite part is when he said you’re in denial while refus­ing to acknowl­edge that you just proved him wrong. Colonel: It’s the God­damn dic­tio­nary! It’s not even sub­jec­tive! Major: I really don’t see what’s so com­pli­cated. The place where we go to look up words is say­ing he’s using the wrong one. Colonel: Exactly. …and what’s with this ‘only a pedophile’ crap? “Only a pedophile uses words like ephebophile”, “only a pedophile says there’s a dif­fer­ence between chil­dren and ado­les­cents”, “only a Sith deals in absolutes”. If only pedophiles made those dis­tinc­tions, what were the words invented for, moron? Major: I’m pretty sure if chil­dren and ado­les­cents were con­sid­ered the same, there wouldn’t be two dif­fer­ent laws against hav­ing sex with them. Colonel: Statu­tory rape/child molesta­tion, it’s not fuck­ing rocket sci­ence, dick­face! Two dif­fer­ent laws, two dif­fer­ent fuck­ing groups of people!

          • illumnaughty says:


            You are a pedophile. Want­ing to have sex with under­age kids makes you a pedophile. Cre­at­ing spe­cial spark­ly­poo clas­si­fi­ca­tions for your­self only works in your beloved animu fapfiction.


  11. Colonel McBadass says:

    Man, you got to be a spe­cial kind of stu­pid to try and say the dic­tio­nary has the wrong def­i­n­i­tion. You guys are just too much.

  12. Colonel McBadass says:

    Colonel McBadass:Heart of hearts… Can you not sound like a com­plete dumb­shit for a change?

  13. Sarah says:

    If you call your­self an “ephebophile”, you’re a pae­dophile. It’s like call­ing your­self a “race real­ist” when you’re really a racist.

    • Oh and Will, allow me to thank you for such a suc­cinct sum­mary of the TVTropes sit­u­a­tion, fol­low­ing the threads gave me a Scanners-style headache. I did not know that there were so many words for “I’m not a pedophile(but really, I am)” but now I know.

      Now I know.

  14. Colonel McBadass says:

    Wrong on both counts.

    • Colonel McBadass Wants my butt virginity because I can't legally drive yet says:

      Con­grat­u­la­tions on win­ning Most Pathetic Per­son on the Inter­net for the third month in a row. I think we should all just stop for a moment, and bask in the true tal­ent for ter­ri­ble this young spud has. Tell us, how do you man­age to become more pitiable every time you ven­ture out into the vast reaches of the internet?

  15. Colonel McBadass Wants my butt virginity because I can't legally drive yet says:

    Well, you enjoy shit on your fin­gers, so I just assumed you’d enjoy shit on your dick.

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