Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 01:37 pm
I just read this post: Oops, she's dead". Once more with no feeling:
I'm fed up with stories (and Buffy S8 isn't the worst example of it out there, I can also point to Torchwood, many superhero comics, and, quite overwhelmingly, Heroes) with central characters who treat protecting other people's lives as self-expression, who make no attempt to practice and improve their skills or to truly form a team that works like a well-oiled system, who demand that they be given the respect due to those who protect society but who fuck up and fuck up and have hecatombs happen on their watch and then expect us to sympathise with them afterwards because it was just so horrible for them, even tough they're usually still alive and walking at the end of it, unlike hundreds of others who weren't in the opening credits.

...and was reminded that I had a locked brainstormy post about class in speculative fiction I never got around to tidying up. Thus, a summary of the main ideas and some links since I have a follow on post I'd like to make (eventually)

Some interesting fannish posts about class I found via metafandom etc:

Some other links:

Further thoughts, with examples from stuff I've consumed recently:

In anything set in the past or psuedo-past the heroes are almost always upper class and/or (usually and) Chosen/special in some way, even when they start out seemingly working class and mundane. There is usually a very strong emphasis on the "natural order of things" which has gone out of balance, with a heavy emphasis on finding the True King (or possibly Queen). Anyone from a non-noble background who works to gain power is grasping and evil.

Dragon Age and FullMetal Alchemist both subvert this, by allowing hard working intelligent ambitious working class people to become leader. (Though in Dragon Age you also have the option of the sweet naive royal bastard who doesn't want the throne) The Chronicles of Prydain subvert this nicely: the main character thinks he might be the lost heir but eventually realises it doesn't matter, what matters is that he's the best person for the job. Avatar The Last Airbender plays it absolutely straight: Note that Azula and Ozai are not the Proper Heirs, and even Katara and Sokka are the children of the chief.

If there's no aristocracy you still often end up with a Chosen Leader (often still literally chosen by destiny) and even if they're part of a democracy they work best when Following Their Heart rather than in consultation and compromise with the leaders of subfactions etc. See Sheridan in Bablyon 5 and Buffy as described in the post I linked.

There are very few characters who become upwardly mobile and enjoy the money/power etc but still connect and identify with the culture, values, tastes etc of their upbringing, or see themselves as a working class person in a position to change the middle/upper class from the inside and work in solidarity with the working class.

(Despite my icon I am not talking about Homestuck, because I have non-class related Issues with Homestuck right now that would get in the way. I did like WV's love of democracy though)


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