Monday, May 30, 2011

Just One More Tab: Being a Troper

What’s fun, addictive, informative, and rhymes with television myopes? Of course, I’m talking about the venerable Television Tropes (and Idioms) wiki. For the efficient and busy members of society, be warned: TV Tropes will ruin your life. What is it? According to its home page, it is a “catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction,” though by its own admission it is “not a stuffy encyclopedic wiki…a [lot] more informal.” That means it analyzes and notes all sorts of different media techniques, ranging from pages on the Rule Of Cool (characters that are too cool in a film or series are immune from death), to the Infinity Plus One Sword (an object, usually associated with fighting video games, that is very difficult to obtain but basically invincible) to Insane Troll Logic (self-explanatory). The genius comes in the list of organized examples from different media (video games, advertising, movies, real life) for the current page’s trope submitted by readers, with witty or biting humor often included for fans to appreciate. In true wiki fashion, the page and examples all link to other relevant tropes, most of which have amusing or relatable names (how can you not click on a page titled Arson, Murder and Jaywalking?), made even worse by the ability to add tabs to a computer. After TV tropes, tabbing will no longer be a verb for pressing that button on your computer keyboard.

Why is it so popular? Well, for people with souls (just kidding, it would take a lot more than not having a soul to dislike TV Tropes), TV Tropes represents our need to socialize and connect at its best: giving us a medium to explore and understand what we see every day, and be able to connect with society. There’s just something special in being able to understand the magician’s tricks. To paraphrase physicist Richard Feynman, there’s a beauty in enjoying something, and a separate beauty in understanding its deep meaning. Obviously, a lot of the points will only make sense to you if you recognize it, but just like the well-loved Wikipedia, TV Tropes is expansive enough to provide something for everyone, whether you watch television or study literary deconstructionism for a living. It’s all in good fun, though, and don’t worry; if you’re confused about what I’ve been talking about just check out It Makes Sense In Context; it’ll clear things up. Take My Word For It.

Alborz Bejnood

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