Gathering the dataset was much more painful than I had expected - I hadn’t really read many of these before, and most were obscene, or aggressive, or kind of insulting. I began to regret the whole project.
But although the neural network figured out the basic forms “You must be a … because….” or “Hey baby, wanna…” it never learned to generate the worst lines - most of these were based on wordplay that it didn’t have a chance of reproducing.
Instead, it began to generate lines that varied from incomprehensible to surreal to kind of adorable:
Are you a 4loce? Because you’re so hot! I want to get my heart with you. You are so beautiful that you know what I mean. I have a cenver? Because I just stowe must your worms. Hey baby, I’m swirked to gave ever to say it for drive. If I were to ask you out? You must be a tringle? Cause you’re the only thing here. I’m not on your wears, but I want to see your start. You are so beautiful that you make me feel better to see you. Hey baby, you’re to be a key? Because I can bear your toot? I don’t know you. I have to give you a book, because you’re the only thing in your eyes. Are you a candle? Because you’re so hot of the looks with you. I want to see you to my heart. If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I have a price tighting. I have a really falling for you. Your beauty have a fine to me. Are you a camera? Because I want to see the most beautiful than you. I had a come to got your heart. You’re so beautiful that you say a bat on me and baby. You look like a thing and I love you. Hello.
Ten thousand years ago the Blue Paladin was Altean, and the Red Paladin was Galra. Ten thousand years ago, in peacetime, the Red and Blue Paladins fell in love. Ten thousand years ago, war broke out, and love that was once encouraged became heresy. Ten thousand years ago, the Red and Blue paladins made a promise they couldn’t keep.
“Take it slow.” Keith’s voice is steady, but as Lance’s eyes struggle to focus his face is a blur. The image goes shaky and then comes clear, shaky then clear, like looking into water. “Pretend it’s low tide. Tell me about the ocean again.”
Could you list all of the tropes that you consider "feel good violence"?
Okay, “Feel Good Violence” is very simple as a concept.It’s violence that feels good, when you’re reading it, when you’re watching it on screen, because for the perpetrator violence can feel really damn good.However,that is violence when taken outside of context. It is violence without consequences. It is violence for the sake of violence. Violence that serves no purpose but to prove the character or person is tough.
Protagonist Sanctioned Bullying - Bullying in general is a fairly popular method to achieve “Feel Good
Violence” because bullying does feel good. The audience sympathizes with
the protagonist, so when the protagonist acts they cheer for it. Its
not presented as bullying by the narrative, but it is still bullying.
Usually it’s a rival or a character set up to “deserve it”, but sometimes not.
Making people afraid makes you feel tough. Many authors will fall prey to the sweet lure of bullying and not even know it because bullying is violence without fear of consequence. Most often, they’ve been the recipients rather than the perpetrators, and acting as the bully is a very different ballgame. It is an emotional and psychological high. You feel big, strong, safe, and untouchable. Powerful.
In their worst incarnations, most superheroes become bullies.
Bullying is all about control, protected status, and freedom from consequences. An entirely fictional world creates the opportunity for all these things, with the narrative itself siding with the bully. Bullying is Feel Good Violence writ large in real life. It’ll follow you into the fictional world just as easily. Power is a high you never forget.
This is very common trope for characters who also act as a means of self-insertion by the author. For them, it isn’t bullying. It’s an example of how awesome their character is and how tough they are.
Everything But Dead
- When the only morals applied are if someone died, the rest is sanctioned without comment. There are no narrative consequences for the character’s behavior, and everyone cheers them on. Anyone who calls them out is an acceptable target, usually evil, or the protagonist wins them over in the end because their actions are “justified”.
By Any Means Stupid - This is the “by any means necessary“ trope, where the violence really isn’t necessary and the author just wanted an excuse to paint the room red.
Unprovoked Violence Is Always the Solution - This is the one where the protagonist skips all the other steps and goes straight to preemptive violence against a total stranger, for no reason other than it makes them appear tough. Usually not framed by the narrative as bad, but it is. Oh, yes, it is. Worse there usually aren’t any consequences for the hero physically assaulting someone in a room full of witnesses because everyone knows they’re the hero, right?
Random Violence Before Strangers is A-Okay - The
protagonist disembowels a bully in front of their victim in order to
protect them and receives effusive thank yous. Nothing comes from this.
The bad guy is dead. We all feel good. All is right in the world.
Except… violence freaks people out.
Acceptable Targets - These are people designated by the writer as non-entities and targets for violence regardless of narrative context. A very slippery slope that is ever descending. But, you know, it feels good? Sure, so long as you’re not on the receiving end. This kind of dehumanization happens in real life too, just in case you were wondering.
Beating Up My Source - You have a character who collects information from an old standby, they threaten and beat up that standby regularly to show they’re tough. At what point does this seem like a terrible idea? Never! Hey, they’re a bad person so you feel good, right?
Waving My Gun Around - Trigger discipline is just the beginning of this problem.
A gun is not a toy. but you’ll find a vast array of narratives who use it that way in order to look tough.
Killing Your Way to the Top - You can’t really destroy organizations like this. Killing the people at the top will just lead to someone else taking their place. Whenever you create a power vacuum someone will fill it. You can’t destroy an organization by killing. It doesn’t work. But, it feels good!
Must Obviously Be Boy - Because female fighters are unicorns and the mooks have never laid eyes on a woman before. Usually part of a larger narrative issue with violence, but acts as a “get out of jail free” card.
Clear the Building - That time the character decided to knock everyone out to prove that they are tough. Weirder when it happens on stealth missions.
I Am Not Gaining Levels - When you’re reading a book and the character is fighting like it’s a video game. They fight everyone like they’re in an RPG chasing XP. Why? We don’t know, but it makes them feel good.
Let Me Shoot Him Twenty Times - We could call this spray and pray, but let’s pretend for a moment the magazine could run dry.
Magic Bullets - The bullets that go where you want, stop when you want, and don’t cause accidental casualties. You know, like the protagonist blind firing through a wall and hitting a four year old playing in the yard across the street.
Body Armor Always Prevents A Blow-through - Nope!
New to Training, Perfect Sparring - That time the main character took on their evil rival (school’s top/better trained student) in a sparring match and won, especially when it was their first day.
Sparring Just In General - The vast majority of Western media doesn’t understand the concept or purpose of sparring. Many authors seem to think its a UFC match where you just beat each other up and the first thing you do during training to “assess your capabilities”.
Queuing for Combat - This is an old Hollywood trick where the burden of a group fight is lifted as the stuntmen wait their turn to fight the protagonist. Particularly egregious in written action sequences where the author doesn’t grasp the concept of teamwork. It also warps the understanding of how many people its possible for a human to fight at once.
Terrible At Torture - Torture is a terrible way to gain information in general because it doesn’t lead to a confession so much as confirmation bias. The subject will tell you whatever you want to hear because they want the pain to stop. It’s even worse when done poorly, which it is 90% of the time. Usually, media uses it for shock value or to prove how tough a protagonist is. Torture is not putting a blowtorch to someone’s foot and hoping for the best. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Neither torturer nor subject come out of the experience whole. Besides, the unimaginative protagonists say, “screw you!” The clever ones lie.
What Is: Dress for Success - How we dress our characters is often necessary for crafting a sense of narrative realism. This comes in often as a reason for why its so difficult to take female action heroes seriously, but it happens to the guys too. Not a bad trope on its own, but often symptomatic of a larger narrative approach to violence that ends with “feel” and “good”.
Beautiful and Badass - This one is a very specific female fantasy, which is that you can meet all the cultural standards and definitions for beauty while being in direct defiance of them. These are the female characters who are never touched by the combat they engage in. They are always graceful, always elegant, always beautiful in motion and the narrative will pause to tell us this often. “She fights like she’s dancing.” For these characters, their supermodel-esque beauty is a natural extension of their being. They don’t work at it. Combat is incidental. It’s a set piece to tell you how awesome the character is. It generally amounts to nothing, serves no real narrative purpose, but by god the author is going to walk us through it in excruciating detail. Combat and character are separate, and consequences are for other people.
My Instincts Performed A Wheel Kick - Your instincts just don’t work that way.
There’s probably more, but that hits most of the major sins.
Keep in mind that many of these tropes are not issues by themselves. They often work when context and consequences are taken into account by their narrative/setting. Generally, this results in characters with no accountability for their behavior and exhibit no responsibility for their actions. The issue, of course, is that responsibility and accountability are what make well-written violence work. Violence often drives the narrative. It’s part and parcel to who the character is, and their decision making. It’s the difference between a character who presents themselves as tough or skilled and one who actually is.
I caved y’all. I tried to resist the temptation, but @zephyrine-gale ‘s crop top trend was too strong and I just *clenches fist* had to;;; so…behold: crop top with finger-less glove sleeves (my dream shirt tbh)
Hey! If you're still taking prompts, could you write about neil and Andrew having a conversation about Neil's past? Like the stuff he had to do to survive and the stuff he went through with the worlds shittiest parents? Also I'm pretty sure neil has killed people like it makes complete sense so maybe andreil talking about that?
There’s a band of pale blue light nipping at the tops of the trees and sharpening the silhouettes of the houses, but everything else is fresh and dark. Andrew smokes with the pack clenched in his fist, the cherry of the cigarette winking at the street lamps winking at the orange moon.
Their front porch isn’t like the rush of the rooftop, but he can get that same jitter of fear from Neil nowadays, and he’s more portable. He’d left him knotted in the bedsheets an hour ago, and knowing he’s inside somewhere at his back is burning him up. Andrew inhales and focuses on the exhale, the way the smoke still tries to hurt him when it should’ve given up. He likes that nicotine doesn’t leave him alone.
Neil slips out the front door and lets the screen door clatter, and Andrew knows that he’s upset before he sits down two steps below Andrew, holding his own head.
He doesn’t ask; just smokes fervently. The moon bobs its head sympathetically, wind catches the smoke and breaks it over Neil’s head like water on rocks.
It occurs to Andrew that Neil isn’t going to start this conversation, because he likes to think things through on his own, solve them wrong, and tell Andrew about his mistakes later. He’s insufferably convinced of his own problem-solving abilities, then obsessed with the mechanism of his own missteps.
“What?” Andrew asks impatiently. He flicks ash from his cigarette and holds it out in front of Neil’s face. Neil sidles through his own tangled thinking for long enough to glance up. He leans forward and sucks the smoke from between Andrew’s fingers.
When he looks away, gusting smoke from his open mouth, he says, “Matt called. We fought.”
“You fought,” Andrew guesses.
Neil looks agitated, blue in the choked light, eyes black and furious. “He was being unfair. He keeps trying to tell me what’s right or wrong lately, because he thinks I’ve been— been deprived, like my experiences were outside of humanity, or morality, and it’s so— condescending.”
“You’re only realizing this now? All of the foxes are condescending. It is the only way they can avoid their own failure.”
“This was different,” Neil says, shaking his head. “I can tell when they’re saying things because they want to see my reaction, and this wasn’t that. He meant what he was saying.”
“And what was that?”
Neil goes gagged silent. He shifts backwards up to Andrew’s stair without looking at him, settling into the groove worn into the wood.
“That killing someone makes you a monster. That murder is the worst thing you can do to a person.”