Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arches Better than Stereos

Stereotypes may be overused, misused, and maligned. However when there is enough about them that is true why wouldn't they still be of use? The answer is that they would. However, they may do their work under the auspices of the different closely related word, archetype. What is the difference between the two? Well it is a matter of degree in the amount of thinking put into using the qualities being ascribed to the group/person who is a stereotypical or archetypal representation of others. A stereotype is shallow, possibly inaccurate, often negative or deprecating, and at the worst clichéd. The last of these really makes a mess of stereotypes, and into which archetypes are much less prone to fall. In other words shallow clichés are bad, deeply thought out archetypes are good.

The use of archetypes falls into two different camps as far as this discussion. The first is obviously archetypal characters. In horror these can be archetypal monsters. There are vampires, werewolves, zombies, constructs (like Frankenstein's monster), devils, and ghosts. These are in addition to normal people archetypes such as the gentle giant, the strong silent type, the loveable rogue, star crossed lovers, traitors, manipulators, abusers, and such. There is some crossover with types like the reluctant monster who, human or inhuman, is driven, or more likely provoked, to do evil and wreak havoc by others who figure him or her for the stereotypical monster. The part to remember of course is to maintain the character as an archetype and not stereotype it.

The other camp of archetypes are the archetypal conflicts, or plots. There are considered to be four of them with variations possible, but not held separate. These plots can even be combined in the same story line--perhaps even best used in pairs. They are defined as man versus himself, man versus man, man versus nature--the fourth is sometimes questioned whether it counts--and man versus society. Society doesn’t actually act on its own but via proxies, hence the debate. A lot of variations come from man versus man with the opposition being inhuman, such as supernatural beings and technological human approximations ranging from artificial intelligences to robots of myriad kinds. Of course the supernatural may take the place of nature, and technology of society.

Mood: relaxed.

Music: Chains Of Misery by Iron Maiden and Molly's Chambers by Kings of Leon.

Iron Maiden: Fear of the Dark
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Now at Amazon.COM NOT CA.

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Kings of Leon: Youth And Young Manhood
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