It is a little unfair, I think, to criticize a person for not sharing the enlightenment of a later epoch, but it is also profoundly saddening that such prejudices were so extremely pervasive.
—Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain
It’s called Values Dissonance.
As a writer, I love tropes—both using them (bad guy wears black hat) and subverting them (black hat-wearing bad guy loves his puppy). But while tropes are valuable shortcuts to values or meanings, that very cultural shorthand either makes it doubly difficult for them to survive across cultures or time, or makes them fodder for satire or parody.
Consider Disney movie classics that now make us cringe. (Beauty and the Beast: kidnapped girl falls for her captor, which causes him to turn into a rich handsome prince with better table manners and they live happily after.) That makes sense, right? (And don’t even get me started on…
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